Leslie Adrienne MillerPoetry / Number 97
We made a child in one, plans
against disaster in the other.
Leaves curled beyond every window
with the same casual alarms,
and somewhere a peacock, yes,
a male with a mewling cry,
hopped into a fir, dragging
its impossible skirts
while we closed the one door
between us and nursed
the wound to what each of us
had heretofore called a self.
We made meals in one, couplings
in the other, ecstatic, cross,
medicinal or comic, took turns
at the one sink, stations at table.
Out of place and time in the damp
scrub, that brilliant bird was one
of two, and his molten breast shone
like coal; his diadem rocked
on a tiny skull. No one had changed
a parent’s diaper yet, swabbed
the dry lips or divested of holdings
with too many stairs. The mountain
outside beckoned to be climbed,
and the last days of summer
wandered in and out like pets
who know that change,
always just out of view,
has a scent and a hue,
and when it breaches one room,
the other fills too.
Leslie Adrienne Miller’s sixth collection of poems is Y from Graywolf Press. Her previous collections include The Resurrection Trade and Eat Quite Everything You See (Graywolf), Yesterday Had a Man In It, Ungodliness, and Staying Up For Love (Carnegie Mellon University Press). Miller’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas, she holds degrees in creative writing and literature from Stephens College, the University of Missouri, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the University of Houston.