A Poem by Maggie Millner


Tonight over the buildings
like an awning stretches down.
Like an awning

made of leather — 
something chemicals and violence
have made pliant, fine

and gray. I went almost all day
without letting my grief
pass into thought. Sequestered

in a part of me I keep away from work,
my grief today was quiet
as a tooth. The living human mind,

unlike a charnel, has its rooms:
one for breathing, one for putting papers
into slots, and another

where you sit across the counter
from the idea that a man you love
is suddenly, and only,

an idea. A whole new wing
has opened up inside you, just for that.
A whole new space to stash the old machine

that used to fashion meaning
from experience: the good,
retired thresher

blooming rust. On the bridge,
the windows light
with every inch the earth pitches

through brume. They’re golden tiles
on a wall — one-fourth of some colossal,
bright, inflamed, restricted room.

Maggie Millner’s writing appears in Prelude, The Journal, TYPO, Zyzzyva, The Iowa Review Online, and other publications, and she is the recipient of fellowships from Poets & Writers, the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, and the Stadler Center for Poetry.

The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.