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Emily Miller Mar 2019
I’m tired again,
And I’m not looking for invigoration.
I don’t want someone to make me feel young
I don’t want a shot of energy,
Unexpected adventure,
I want a soft place to land,
A pillow for my head,
Someone to caress my shoulders while I find a dreamy burrow to lay my mind down for sleep,
I want
Emily Miller Mar 2019
No matter which window I look out of,
the world is still on fire.
gleaming with the orange-gold of
indiscriminate destruction.
When I was young,
I thought the framed oil paintings were real,
and enjoyed the pleasant, static serenity-
but one day,
I noticed a shadow glance across the edges of the curtains,
and when I parted them,
the glass was aflame.
Every bay,
every aperture,
glowing hot and chaotic,
apathetic to my plight.
I scoured the halls,
reached high on the basement walls,
searched the attic,
but every window framed the same vision-
a fatal inferno.
It wasn't until I caught fire myself that I realized-
the world is not on fire.
My house is.
Emily Miller Jul 2018
There’s a silhouette outside my eyelids and a deep, dark color that rose up out of a dream I had as a child.
There’s a forest green and a slow, methodical movement that suddenly becomes lithe and deliberate under the influence of art.
A small part of me recognized him from the visions I created as a child, but I never thought he’d come in the form of someone I love so much.
The best kind of love-
The kind that stays even when the weather is poor
And the roads are winding,
The real kind.
There’s no romance,
No flowery words,
But just like the man from my made-up narratives as a kid,
He’s sturdy
and he feels real.
I can read him and hear him and feel him even when the lights are low and life gets loud,
And he does just fine no matter what.
He survives.
Despite my desperation to escape the company of every other person,
Frantically crawling back to the solitude of my home,
I hesitate to leave his company.
Because friendship is the finest balm
For the singe of human emotion,
Moonbeams and a night breeze after the severe, summer sun.
That’s the truest kind,
The most authentic kind
Of love.
And when I dreamt man as a young girl,
I thought I’d find him under a jasmine arch,
At the end of the isle.
Instead I found him in a classroom,
And became his best friend.
Emily Miller Jul 2018
On dusty streets leading from market to to the edges of a resort,
elderly men with three teeth beckon you.
The commercialized exoticism sweeps you up
and you hand over pesos
in exchange for a piece of parchment with hand-scrawled symbols...

There is no Mayan alphabet.
They'll tell you that they're writing your name,
you'll take it home and display it on a shelf next to framed pictures
of you and the family in Chichen Itza,
but nothing about it is real.
We never grow up and learn not to believe,
we just learn piece by piece what's real and what's not.
Children learn about the tooth fairy,
and mermaids,
teenagers learn about soulmates,
young people learn about their dreams,
but even as adults,
there are things we still believe in.

There is no Mayan alphabet,
and yet grown, educated people
pull coins from their pocket in an attempt to connect with a culture that seems too fantastic to be a part of reality.

There is no Mayan alphabet,
but people still believe.
They believe in utopias
and countries without debt.
They believe in world peace and infinite resources,
they'll write checks to conmen
and work for checks from them, too.
They believe in honest politicians
and perfectly healthy food.
They put stock in organic remedies
and all their trust in online articles,
and every time they think they've learned the way of the world,
they'll turn around,
and learn something new.
Adults may not believe in fairy tales,
but they will believe in the Mayan alphabet.
Emily Miller Jun 2018
My chest is a clay ***,
The kind with the round body and small mouth that your abuela hangs on the porch
And some obscure thing grows from it,
Brown in the winter,
Green in the spring…
My chest is a clay ***.
It holds in everything it needs to,
And it seems perfectly sturdy,
But when the insides get to be too much,
Or the weather gets to be too bad,
It shatters.

My chest is a clay ***,
And inside it is a growing thing.
I don’t know when it’ll become too much to contain,
Or when I’ll have to reach inside and take some out
In order to survive,
But I pray each day that its chalky exterior doesn’t become brittle
And crack.

My chest is a clay ***.
Emily Miller Jun 2018
Shadows move with my feet on the cobblestone
from the sunlight dancing on the picado banners
that stretch between buildings
And offer some reprieve
From the Texas sun.

The mouth-watering scent of pan dulce
Draws children to the glass fronts of the old bakery,
And they flit between sweet breads
And figurines of brilliant colors
Crowding stands run by elderly craftsmen and women with big smiles-

San Antonio,
There’s something in your streets.
Something binds me to your old, leaning buildings,
And the murals that decorate them,
San Antonio,

My first memories of reading
Reside on 600 Soledad Street
between the shelves of the Big Enchilada,
And dapple down through the glossy, colorful limbs
of its Chihuly spine.

You exist in the border between coastal plains and the hill country,
Mesquite trees and palm trees living side by side
Just as the German and Spanish settlements do,
The missions becoming as much a part of the land
As the Guadelupe.

With tequila on my tongue,
And boots on my feet,
I’m prepared to bask in the warmth absorbed by sandy loam
And breathe in the smell of elotas on a Sunday afternoon
To the sound of San Fernando’s bells,

Oh, San Antonio…
I’ve never wished for a better dwelling,
Even one with cooler summers
And smoother streets,
Oh, San Antonio…

I’d be a fool to leave you,
To call another home,
And I’ve never found myself foolish before,
So my dearest, sweetest, most proud San Antonio,
I am here to stay.
Emily Miller Jun 2018
Hat pulled low over my face, I pull the lever of the pump,
getting back in my car,
hands placed on the steering wheel as if I'm going to drive away while the gas is going,
I just sit.
Trying to clear my mind before the day.
That's when I see them.
A pixie-like little girl in denim and cotton,
tennis shoes untied and scuffed,
long hair trailing unkempt,
summer hair,
barely brushed,
she skips beside a man who is undoubtedly her father,
a serious-looking man dressed for a day of adventure,
the same nose as the sprite hopping along beside him.
At once,
I spiral into an invisible shoe box of photos...
then it's me with my hair down and my shoes untied and a big smile on my face as I accompany my father in the most mundane tasks.
Everything is an adventure with daddy,
everything is a game,
a brand-new experience ******* in shiny ribbons,
even if it's just going to the gas station.
They reappear from the store,
and the little girl excitedly pulls a bottle of chocolate milk from the plastic bag.
The colorful snacks look silly in the father's large, rough hands,
but he opens each package carefully,
handing her napkins,
and in her unrelenting grin,
anyone can see that she owns him heart and soul.
I shift uncomfortably in my mental shoe box,
and I see myself again,
overalls and a small bag of donuts,
licking the glaze from my fingers,
my father reaching over with a towel to wipe my face clean of chocolate glaze.
He chastises me, but he's smiling,
and he pops a donut into his mouth, too,
two best friends on a summer adventure,
nothing can stop our fun.
The father starts their rickety old suburban, and the little girl bounces excitedly in her seat, eager for their next stop. The mode of transportation could be a rusted row boat in the middle of a swamp,
but to her,
it's all a part of a beautiful memory that she'll never let go of.
And one day,
when her daddy is gone,
she'll drive up to the gas station in her own car
and sit in the driver's seat to take a breath,
and she'll see herself, fifteen years younger, prancing happily along her father's steady gait,
and she'll fall backwards into an unexpected
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