A Prologue: 1/19/2021
Our mailbox is new, and smooth.
of grief when the door is closed
on generously stamped postcards,
messages meant for overseas friends
he showed me the Blake murals
blocks from his flat: traces
godhead in toenail tile, lurking
under a bridge.
I looked for bags of onions,
of coins, blanket folded tight
there were only prophecies
frozen in industrial time,
a few chipped
slow to their slow sharing.
across the street
has been sold.
couch lifted on the sidewalk,
the couple and their teenage son
emerged with matching black T-shirts.
to take in the neighborhood, on foot.
I waited for them to make the corner
before pulling out of our driveway.
Fear of bloodguilt, flattened
dogs, lawsuits, slashed tires.
They have uprooted
the old Jesus is Risen sign
left over from last
My French is not fresh
enough for the Pensées.
In Paris we once sat across from
an old man on the metro. He was practicing
his English with calls to dig mass graves
It was hot that summer, before
the cathedral burned. We swooned
through the opera, sweated and stank
in a box with three strangers. Orpheus
called out to the dead.
After, we stood on the street.
Weeping, unafraid of happiness.
I wanted to play Gluck’s last chorus
for the fascist on the train.
His false teeth
would grow true. His lips
would bleed schoolboy Latin.
The neighbors are putting up
a swing on their porch.
I want to believe
they will not come out
I want to meet them
on our lawn
for the song I have been learning
since Sunday. I am down I am down,
I am down in a deep, dark hole.
The melody is simple enough, and
when I found the deep, rumbling
part of my voice, I could feel
the soil shift in my hair,
It is winter here, but
is not cold.
- Deja Samuel
James Miller won the Connecticut Poetry Award in 2020. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Typehouse, Rabid Oak, pioneertown, North Dakota Quarterly, Yemassee, Phoebe, Mantis, Scoundrel Time, Permafrost, Grey Sparrow Review, Blue River, 8 Poems, After Happy Hour, Two Hawks Quarterly, Concho River Review, SOFTBLOW and elsewhere. Follow on Twitter: @AndrewM1621