Jan/Feb 2001  •   Poetry

Two Poems

by Jesse Miller


I have to leave the place
I'm going back to
Or I'll be there forever

Where I'm from
There are no horizons
No sea mist
There is only flatness
Interrupted by seasons
Lips sliced by cold
Dream huddled and sleeping
That can only be shaken
From slumber three months
Out of the year

This place stole my soul
Took my magic
Siphoned my blood
Reminded me I wore out
My welcome years back

The lesson to be learned
is remedial: junior high
if I am here
On the x
And you are there
On the y
I draw a line
I make a connection
And everything outside
And in between
Falls away
And we become geometry


Little Bones

I should kill those kids downstairs
the ones who wake me up every morning
two hours before
I have to be up.
Don't they know the floorboards
are too fragile
even for their gentle bones
so much like cartilage
to be jumping on the bed?

I can see them down there,
little skeletons bouncing
off a soft mattress sagged in the middle,
sheets bunched up,
a mountain range through the valley
of the center of
the bed their mother junk
picked off the street and got her
new boyfriend to help haul home.

I hear them at night, the mother
and her man.
She moans, they laugh,
he groans, they laugh.
What is it that's so funny
about their sex, I ponder
with my hands in my pants.

Come daylight, the little skeletons are
at it again,
trying to get higher,
to touch the floor beneath my head.
Little bone fingers tickle
my back as I lie
in bed and listen.