Autobiography

By MATT W. MILLER 

For a moment I was a failed skip of stone
sunk into the river for a moment I was the river
purling in long last shadows of September
for a moment I was a skinny grizzly climbing 
from a beer can for a time I was Christmas 
lights wrapping around downtown’s smokestack
until I became a book filled with baby teeth
for a while I was a boy painting the portrait
of a queen for a while I was a child queen
for a while I knew the switches to every light
knew the angles of every kiss in the autumn 
night and shaped morning from the curve
of her hips for a while I spelled the difference
between church and lips for a while I was
young for a while I was son for a while I
was father of a million reasons not to pray
for a while God begged me for apology
for a while I was an apology walking the edge
of the dam for a while I was dust on the floor
of a cotton mill swept by a broom out into
summer for a while I was summer until liver
spotted clouds blew over the dunes to fling
the monarchs into Mexico for a while I was
oyamel fir and yucca tree after all sap ran 
desert west after sugar maple elm and pine
for a moment there I had made up my mind 
to be worm for the plover for a second I 
believed I was enough vessel for my children
for a night my wife was able to rest on our blade
of stars for one moon the sea could trade us 
for the sun for one dawn we filched the horizon 

 

Matt W. Miller is author of The Wounded for the Water; Club Icarus, winner of the 2012 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry; and Cameo Diner: Poems. He has published work in Birmingham Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Narrative, Crazyhorse, 32 Poems, and other journals. He is winner of River Styxs Microfiction Prize, Iron Horse Literary Reviews Trifecta Poetry Prize, and The Poetry by the Sea Conference’s Sonnet Crown Contest. He has been awarded poetry fellowships from Stanford University and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Miller teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy and lives with his family in coastal New Hampshire. 

[Purchase Issue 17 here.]

Autobiography

Related Posts

Bogota

Translation: Poems by María Paz Guerrero

MARÍA PAZ GUERRERO
Time fills with holes / and puts the scarce body / into one of them // It covers its skeleton of wind / so the current / doesn’t rub against its prickly outside // The air would split into smithereens / if it were touched by the spines // It doesn’t seek to become cuts on the cheek

Crack willow branch

August 2021 Poetry Feature

IAIN TWIDDY
Across the washes, planted on the banks, / crack willow held the drains and dykes in place, / kept them in line, kept them cleanly going, / just as the water, glupping along, fed them, // and then their pollarded branches might be / woven into hives to snaffle eels overnight.

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even