Saturday, January 12, 2019



and it speeds upstate toward—
is it home if you’ve never lived there?
This poem merges, changes lanes, and exits—left, past the outlet mall,
then right. Mobile homes edge the road—and staggering barns.
Corn stubble pokes up through snow. A school bus brakes,

and a stop sign pops out. Two boys shuffle off, cross in front
of the poem and disappear. There’s barbed wire
strung here. And a story. Stories, really. Three children
wrenched from their mother—dead, they’re told, though
alive in an asylum they never find. The one sister, 17,

she drowns in a summer pond. There are purple hills, tall pines,
and silos in here, and field after field after field, forget about
dreams. Also a Dunkin’ Donuts, grids of solar panels,
a Ford dealership. We’re upstate, so a prison looms in this poem,
and rows of prison guards’ pickups. Steam escaping

a prison chimney, a river running under a bridge. My mother’s
in here, my stepfather, too—how he hugs women and girls
too close. As if asking: are you my mother? A shuttered restaurant
flies past, a motel without a single car in the lot. The old armory
rises up, a red light against dusk, a left turn. The tumor

on my stepfather’s neck and jaw fattens day after day—the consequence
of little mistakes. Six white horses commune around a mound of hay.
Fields offer up lone machinery: tractor, hay baler, mower, plow.
A dark blue silo. A burned-out house. Haloed by naked trees,
a neighbor’s trailer blazes with light. There are humans

I love in this poem, a rearview mirror—the long, rutted driveway
glazed with ice and age. The house in this poem, a step up
from ramshackle, wasn’t built all at once, but room by room.
Hundreds of acres, forests and fields. Two old bay horses, three ewes,
a hen and rooster, a border collie, a silver tabby. The humans in here
were children once. Things happened to them. They made
choices. This poem, too, makes choices. It gets things wrong.
And some things can never be put right. But there’s
mercy in here, tenderness. We cross in front of the poem,
we disappear. The poem goes on.


Jennifer Stewart Miller holds an MFA from Bennington College and a JD from Columbia University. Her poetry has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Harpur Palate, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore, Raleigh Review, and other journals. She’s a Pushcart nominee, and when she’s not off biking somewhere fun, lives in New York with her family and congenitally-deaf Dalmatian, Daisy.


We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

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