May 28, 2009

Amy Miller

RHODE ISLAND
                for my mother

That summer in Misquamicut, when boys
as ripe as roadside corn shot pool in darkened
eighteen-over bars, I found the joy
they buried deep in denim straight-front pockets—

pipe screens, joints, and all the damp and salty
wounded want my navigating hands
could plunder. Home and sunburned, bedroom walls
my gulag—no diary, no dolls—digging sand

and ashes from the trenches of my shoes,
I heard her laughing—late, in bed with Dad,
no malice in her voice, in love—a girl whose
moody boy came home for her with mad

martinis, seven jokes to sleep on, sleep
itself a garland he laid at her feet.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007