Carl Miller poems
page 88

July - December 2011

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Chattering, rustling, scampering,
never loud but never quite silent,
nocturnal invaders squeeze through holes
the size of flowerpot drainage.

They don’t seem to be stealing food,
or shredding paper to nest in drawers.
Why, then, are they even coming in here?
How? Didn’t we block every hole?

And yet, each morning,
there’s another small corpse in the trap,
another chatter silenced forever.
The death count’s up over a dozen.

Mineral Lick

Standing butterflies
slowly fanning wings,
deep brown, orange and white,
uncoiling mouthparts
to taste the sidewalk.

Cutting Firewood

The fir tree I cut down grew wood
highly adapted to leaning,
strengthened by braided fibers.

A straight chop on top of a round
becomes a wave at the bottom.
It splits apart reluctantly,
needing a wedge and many whacks.

I fill the wheelbarrow just three times
by one o’clock, about the hour
this August’s heat starts to simmer.

Though I’m not horribly fatigued,
somehow this work wrecks my mind
for a few hours after I stop.
I can’t face writing anything.

My son’s gone away today,
off to get his car repaired.

When I enter the house, the Other
is that clump of mostly black fluff
asleep on my rocking easy chair.

Stella snorts out of slumber,
shakes her head, looks at me,
and slowly closes her eyes again.
The cat, at least, is comfortable
and happy for the moment.

Rain Smell

Enough rain fell last night
to make the forest smell.
For the first time in weeks
my comfortable couch cat
wants to go outside.

September Morning

The night cool lingers
after the sun clears the ridge.
Equinox comes soon.

Morning at Noon, December

The sun is shining and the sky is blue,
but the sun’s still near the horizon at noon.
Outside, it’s cold, inside, not much warmer.

Take some logs and kindling from the rack,
put them inside the stove with newspapers
and cereal boxes, flame with a propane torch,
keep adding paper till the wood starts burning.

Bring in more wood and put it on the rack,
pour some food for Neil, the outdoor cat,
who chows it down then climbs the ladder to
a patch of sun on the tower’s porch roof.

My laptop Macintosh is cold to the touch.
In about an hour it will warm me
but for now it’s on a cork-lined placemat.

The indoor cat, Stella, takes a drink and looks
out the window over the sink at Neil,
who leaves when his sunning place is gone.
Stella jumps beside me on the couch,
chirping till I stroke her soft black fur,
then decides she wants to go outside.

I’m starting to think about eating breakfast.
The fire already needs another log.

copyright © 2011, 2012 Carl Miller

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