“Miller’s Thumb” by L. Ward Abel

L. Ward Abel



How deep is the green skin
out to the east and away
into wideness?

Aerial shots taken without
consent show just how
alone we are.

And nobody said anything
about consequences.
So, no escape this time.

We’re known by
our remaining, not
how we arrive.



Pages don’t turn
they’re burned.

Be careful what
you fish for. You

could kill it. And poets
are the first to go.

Riddle me the weight
of civilization.

But scales vary
with the miller’s thumb.

from Poets Respond
July 1, 2020


L. Ward Abel: “Where to begin when every day is more emotional than the last one? Just about every article or newscast is dealing with the state of the pandemic, politics, protests, and violence happening around us. Sometimes it’s like the seams of our world are fraying. My poems deal with the idea of confusion, fear, rage, coming round again to confusion, as I perceived from the BBC article (and many other ones) about, for example, the increased use of fireworks in the night—not celebration or commemoration, but a sobering metaphor for what happens when the connections within society break.” (web)

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