Smoke and Miracles: A Poem in Four Parts by Kevin Miller
Finalist : Terrain.org 7th Annual Contest in Poetry
And what there is between a man and a woman. And in which darkness it can best be proved. — Evan Boland, “Against Love Poetry”
The Swell Season
She says the woolly worms’ stripes foretell dark days, this brown stripe is a line crossed at your own risk, enjoy this light, for it will disappear like good days after bad. I cut, split, and stack at the outside chance we make it to winter. This spring metamorphoses from one black stripe to another, the Isabella tiger moth gives way to another mother, say bald faced hornet, say yellow jacket, the whirring turn of the paper heart, stinger and stung swell together, this wives’ tale promises a sharp end.
Apologies without End
Measure, count, parse— disputes’ cut-lines are furrows for rain’s way with our faces, ablutions course without reparations, this tick-quick battle wearies her green eyes, one-flecked gimlets floating amber, perfect the way each holds a sun, nothing sets even when this day closes, dark settles within a robin’s call.
Their Forty-third Fall
After weeks of raking, one maple leaf escapes, rests within the house where the hall turns to the bedroom. It floats like a ruby hand on hardwood, flared and untouched. For two weeks they step around, say nothing, leave it like a note on the mirror where a young husband might shave or a chocolate in foil secreted in a lunch sack, their inattention a seasonal intention.
This week I carry the call like a vow, it whispers through fir, ricochets in cedar through alder, touches the part burrowed where belief rests. We mark the spot, our tell stills the trail, we lean the way longing never makes it so. Days later in early quiet, your owl reappears. I hear mourning dove as clear as daybreak at Hanne’s valley near Ebeltoft. I break the hollow bone love can be— my problem with fidelity always fidelity.
Kevin Miller lives in Tacoma, Washington. Pleasure Boat Studio published his third collection Home & Away: The Old Town Poems. Miller taught school for 40 years. He drives the Progeny Shuttle from Old Town, Tacoma.