J. Stewart Miller

In Which Something Inside
Wanders Through the Garden
in the Almost Dark

A glimpse of movement out the window, enough to stop me, walk me back to look. My eyes strain, swimming through the watery dark. How much of what we see or know is a flicker of something—shooting stars, that person we love on sight, that person we dislike. Yes, a shape out there—under the flowering pear, that white church where bees hummed this morning, maybe are humming still. A hint of a brown triangle tugging at something. A memory? It floats toward the un-mowed grasses in which the dark is curling up for the night, toward the beginnings of the daisies and lupine. Wanders off toward what I know to be trees. Then another movement on the left of the frame—something cubist and tan, a rectangle coming to complicate things. Which is also hungry. Nights when my father came home way late and after the argument—crawled into the twin bed with me. I pretended to be asleep, struggling to breathe slowly and deeply. Or was it shallow and quick?

In our dream band, on cello:

Jennifer Stewart Miller’s book Thief (2021) won the 2020 Grayson Books Poetry Prize. She is also the author of A Fox Appears: A Biography of a Boy in Haiku (2015), and a chapbook, The Strangers Burial Ground (Seven Kitchens Press 2020). Her poems and creative non-fiction have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Citron ReviewGreen Mountains Review, RHINO, Sugar House Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.

Moonrise, 1885
Henri-Joseph Harpignies French

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