Share317 https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2017/apr/Miller_Path.mp3 Path in the Grass Even though it goes nowhere, I choose it each afternoon and march toward the fog that lays its long thigh on the table of cool steel where otherwise horizon would unspool its increments of rule. When the edges emerge, we can love that too, but the path in the grass is best in mist that lights the ravage of the margins. You have to step down from the road where the tangle comes up to brush your elbows, and a flush of blues fans all its cards at your feet, not blooms but leaves the color of pillow mints and blades that wrap your ankles like snapped whips. Tiaras of wild carrot blacken at the other end and hush the little snakes that break their blue links into stilled measures when we find one flattened in the road. Otherwise, we’d never bring the icon of their gorgeous undersides this far: how blue the tiny bead of brow and inside their mouths. Like the bay itself, alive, they drag their yellow chains of light along too fast for human eyes to register the quick, and like the bay too their darker scales pour. This one, named for the bit of lace a bride will toss to hopeful boys in a pack, died with an open jaw and seems to us now a creature crying out, but she, like us, was only hunting a grassy path, the red tongue flicking out for particles of air that might tell her how far the water’s edge, how near prey, danger, mate, or this smear of blue annihilation that might have married all three. https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2017/apr/Miller_Artevar.mp3 Artevar after Anselm Kiefer Just so you know she isn’t closed in ice, she’ll admit to great swathes scratched thin with all manner of high feeling, even, God forbid, places where she’d chucked rocks at it and scribbled bits of his language, which, truth be told, had the sexiest words for what happens when a body you’re done with doesn’t die. In fact, beetles climbed in and out of the hole, and the carapaces shone like wet ink so long, she couldn’t remember the bones without them. The legs and pincers were lace, and tracks of rust tinged rivulets ran down the backs of his calves. She’d removed the head months before, and mounted in its place a cage or a pod or a crown of wire depending on how much medication was still in her system when she sat down to make something of it. The clothes, however, refused to morph: they were what they’d always been, ordinary loafers and the awful plaid with shoulder tabs, flimsy briefs too synthetic to repurpose as dust cloths or mirror wipes. She knew others were better at saving the scenes set with gifts and photogenic meals while she’d gone for patches of pavement and filthy aftermath, dried stalks, the lost code of cursive on an envelope, and finally the hard pill of a seed pried from the dazzling vine that refuses to take root in her part of the world. https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2017/apr/Miller_Navigators.mp3 Navigator’s Triangle We decide they were coyotes, those black scrabbles that rocked like toy horses as they passed through the portal of moonlight on the bay’s exposed flats. We needed all three of us to agree as we stood in the scrub at the edge of the trail’s smear between grass and the sink of sedge. Moonlight lets you see just enough to venture out but not enough to venture all the way in, and we were women passing a mug of tea and pointing up at the red eye of Saturn in the south, and Cygnus laying its open wings on the pitch directly overhead, but the chain of living mammals was something else, miles out on flats so thick with sludge we knew a doglike creature might sink. The bay held them aloft on a silver bar, and they crossed one by one like animations running through a strip of fabricated light. We all thought at once about the report we’d have to make, and whether or not we could really confess that what one eye had caught became a truth for three. None of us are married, so what we see always has a story at risk of never arriving at conception’s lucky door, and no, we did not count them or hear an identifying cry. We simply marked the loping silhouettes that might end up awash if they’re not perfectly attuned to what time the tide rushes in. Leslie Adrienne Miller is author of six collections of poems — Y, The Resurrection Trade, and Eat Quite Everything You See from Graywolf Press — and Yesterday Had a Man In It, Ungodliness, and Staying Up For Love from Carnegie Mellon University Press. She teaches at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Header photo of moon over coastline by gustavmelin0, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Leslie Adrienne Miller by Heather Muller.