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Brood X: Part III

August 25, 2010 Comments off

from boygirlboygirl by Leslie F. Miller

You were 6 the first time—
sweet scent of lilacs
perfuming a sleep
punctuated by banshee wails,
cluttered with clicks, incessant,
the night crawling with sound.
You dodged them
on your way to school,
the air littered with locusts
flying kamikaze drills
into your wavy hair,
your limbs quaking
as you pulled them,
hissing like firecrackers,
from tangled strands.

By 23 you had forgotten them
their redundancy,
the multiplication of eyes, red,
the crunchy footsteps,
the suffocated shrubs—
forgotten how they’d threatened
to detonate in your hand
(get them off me get them off)—
forgotten how they’d suck the holes
out of silence
and fill them with shrieks
that kept your windows closed nights,
that made you crazy with a heat
all your own.

At 40 you wait for them,
their awful sameness,
with your girl, just 6,
her wide brown eyes open
to embrace the world,
her long, brown hair
just begging for it.


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Leslie F. Miller (website) likes to smash things and put them back together in a random, yet tasteful, order. Her first book, Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt, was published in April 2009 by Simon Schuster; it is about eating, not baking. Her poetry has appeared in publications across the country, and she is the former editor of the poetry column in Baltimore’s City Paper.