“To Whoever Inherits the Earth” by Amy Miller

Amy Miller


If it still stands,
find the bench on the bend
of Crystal Springs trail with a view

of the cold lake
and cormorants. We were idiots,
but we liked this. Also cats on our belly

at night. Taqueria
windows white with steam.
A certain shade of lilac that painted

the hills
for a single week in May.
We had a saying about the meek,

but the crops
failed all of us equally,
the Earth so democratic for a moment.

We kept writing—
bless you if you’re reading this—
because to stop would have been death

before death
before death. To know
the mistakes we made, with everything,

made a long
and foolish memoir.
And what was there to do but write it?

We are
so young. Tonight
white blossoms blaze outside the door,

a scent
like spring has lost
its mind and pumped out all

the pheromones
in the arsenal. We are
so in love as well—this place—

three deer walk
down the center of the street,
lit for a moment, then crossing to the dark.

from Poets Respond
May 14, 2019


Amy Miller: “The United Nations report released a few days ago, predicting that a million plant and animal species will soon face extinction due to human civilization—possibly causing catastrophic harm to our food and water systems—cast a pall over everything this past week. Like many, I’ve had even more thoughts than usual of mass extinctions, famine, and despair, along with a glimmer of hope that a finding this frightening may finally persuade governments to take radical actions to turn the tide. As a writer, I constantly wonder whether writing is worthwhile—I mean, will there be anyone around to read it in a few generations? I keep thinking of the line in William Stafford’s poem ‘Waiting in Line’—‘the chance / to stand on a corner and tell it goodby!'” (web)

Rattle Logo