Nora Claire Miller


This Is Not The Poem Where You Die

Because I am too small and my pillowcase too
sad and I want to write you like that:

this is a boy being filled with grass.
This is the hiss of your eyes digging tunnels

in the dirt, in the crawlspace of your old
wooden house, I want to write about you,

a boy in the darkroom wearing a green
and gray hat, I want to write you over and over:

this is a boy hell-bent, jaw building houses
on the counter where he used to connect tracks,

& this is the dirt floor of his chest,
sprouting, brimming with dandelions.

But this is a boy disastrously brave, who fought
four emergency room nurses for a cigarette,

who when he left the hospital still green and
splintered hooked the sidewalk

with a smile that had legs. This is a boy who,
two months later, in the story that ends with infection,

plays a game of earthquake and survives.
In the window room, your ribs like reeds,

I want to write you gray or green,
with train tracks or with trees.

Even with your heart coaxed
by that machine, here you are, again, in steam:

a boy like a flashing light, a boy without
an end, a boy like a tambourine.



It wasn’t really a poem about sex.
I was writing about doorbells
and you misunderstood.
Now it’s March and the coin is spinning faster.

Exhibit A: this is a girl turned light bulb.
This is a girl un-girled.

At night you ask about my electricity.
I tell you that one story
that I’ve never told anyone. That story
about the man behind the counter.

Exhibit B: when the trees arrive in the mail,
you stamp them out with your foot.

“Modern history is full of legos,” you say.
You are always talking about something stupid,
legos and those big legos called duplos.
Pixels elbowing for space.

It wasn’t really a poem about sex.
I’ll write you another one, though.
It will be a poem about the yellow nightmare room
full of clocks and tiny houses.

It will be written in exhibits.

Exhibit C: I am electric beneath the kitchen sink
with the wire brush.
This is how the light bulb gets unstrung.

We will talk about the maze
where you say your heart lives
and the ways in which it can stretch.

By this I mean, we’ll have two conversations.
One will be about the maze.
And one will be about the heart.




NORA CLAIRE MILLER is a senior at Hampshire College concentrating in poetry and archival studies. Nora's work has appeared in DecomP and Eunoia Review, and is forthcoming in DMQ Review