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Amanda Miller Mar 2015
Ten years ago if you would've stopped me
on the street and said that I'd be stuck
at a dead end job, divorcing my husband of fifteen years,
and dividing three kids between two houses and twenty miles,
I would've spat in your face with laughter.

We never intend to have our life's plans crumble
before us, watching our spouses change into different
people and our children pick themselves apart
because all the words their parents say are fights
disguised in jabs and cracks at each other:
the time
they don't have,
the money
they don't have, the love

And in ten years, two people can fall apart the way
a river branches into separate streams, continuously flowing away
from their source, navigating bends and crossing the silted mud of life together
until they split up.

And everything we take for granted,
those necessities of life, are broken
down into their basic elements. Water is merely
hydrogen and oxygen. A marriage is but
two people
who can be divided,
simplified, classified, jarred up, studied,

Two streams diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not see this coming.

It just happens that way.
Life just happens
that way.
Amanda Miller Mar 2015
I've pruned the edges of my garden, but
when all still wilts, withers, and dies
I plant myself anew.

I pat clods of dirt between the crevices of my ribcage
and nestle a seedling in the cavity
of my heartspace.

Perhaps something lovely
will grow there
Amanda Miller Mar 2015
I pruned the flowers of my soul yesterday, following
the careful directions set out by my mother's mother. "A little
loving will go a long way, Dear," she would tell me as she pinched
a yellow-green leaf between her dirt-lined fingernails.

I clipped the pieces of myself--
shriveled and yellowed,
dried and dead-- and sought root
among the Roses and Marigolds, Violets and Clovers,
hoping for a companion to grow tall and strong next to.

I radiated in sunshine as bees moved from flower
to flower, tickling petals and whispering
meditations of beauty and growth and the ways of

An English Ivy wrapped its tendrils
around me, encompassing and tender, kissing me
gently until I turned my face from the sun.
And though the bees did not come and I could not
breathe, I felt

But the ivy crept on to find other flowers,
and the storms had proven too strong
for me.

I've been uprooted and waterlogged,
wet wilting from the soggy, soaked earth, drooping
and hoping for a second season.

And when the sun dries me out,
I no longer know
whether I am dormant
or dying.
Trying a garden theme. Draft with tense issues.
Amanda Miller Mar 2015
I place my heart inside a jar
and shove it to the side.
If I said it did not hurt, well, I guess
I must have lied.
I am the first page of a well-loved novel,
But often the first one ignored,
Dog-eared and transparent at the corners
From the touch of one too many hands
And witness to the enterprising twist of a smile
As my readers are privileged to only pieces of me.

You, like the binding that surrounds me,
Enclose and encircle all that I am. Write a novel
Under my skin. I’ve falsified too many smiles,
Sacrificed even the best of myself for ignorant
Delusions of caressing hands
That take and abuse my corners.

The used bookstore on the corner
Of Middlebury Marbleworks, Otter Creek and window-origami —
My salvation and river-penance. Seek my story with hands
That feel to comprehend, with novel
Softness and a tenderness that ignores
My pleading glances and indecisive smiles

As you speak in hush-whispers. Smile
With your eyes as you touch my spine — corner
Me at the exit. I want you to ignore
Faults, make peace with flaws that inhabit me
Like poetry misplaced within a novel,
Or willow branches falling too low, tired hands.

I memorized the shape of your hands
The first time we danced to Chaplin’s “Smile,”
And wrote on the broadness of your shoulders a novel
Of my sins, apologies stretching to your corners
In villanelles — repeating refrains. It took all of me
To tell you what I could no longer ignore.

Because once you start to ignore
Conflictions that exist in the nerve-endings of your hands,
What you feel becomes a burden. For me,
Sand ran out of the hourglass when our smiles
Stopped touching — and at the corner
Of Maple Street and Printer’s Alley, I said goodbye, our novelty

Gone. Still, I find it hard to ignore what used to be when you smile
As you look at her, your hands on her back in the corner
Of the room. You remain my unfinished novel.
Amanda Miller Mar 2015
The moon shines a cool blue tonight
as we entwine our fingers, laying on the baseball field
beneath diamond heavens. We lie
in silence, in the moments when the Universe reveals
itself, and contemplate the distances between one celestial body to
another, the space between
us growing as I turn south
to find Orion while you seek Cassiopeia in the north.

Shooting stars cross the sky, and we wish separately on dead
stars and dead dreams, lights already grown red and extinguished
as we whisper in the dark, passing
between phases.

And in the end we're all left searching.
Amanda Miller Feb 2015
Burgundy tassels sway in June water  
Resting among chartreuse vegetation.  
Ebbing with the current, a crustacean
Advances to pinch tanned toes. My daughter
Thinks nothing of it as she contently
Hovers among the playful fish kissing  
Each passion-fruit patch of sundress, baring
Delicate flesh beneath.  She was lovely  

And mine. Seven years have passed, yet her voice
Resonates in my memories, enshrined.
“Let’s go swimming, Daddy.” Love as my vice,
I gave in. The ocean, blue as star-lined
Nights, beckoned her closer, starfish snuggly
Grabbed her, an infinite bride of the sea.
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