LESLIE ADRIENNE MILLER
Luxury can see water and sky from table,
bed and chair, but owns only quiet,
the shrug when the storm crosses to land,
and all the cell towers drain. That glow
in the distance is neither capital nor casino,
but hurtling particles of plasma,
and freighters pass so far south
even a rare clarity cannot capture
them again. Hulking campers hiss
on the rim road, but even they thin,
drag their carapaces out of fog
to hook up for night. Luxury owns
nothing at all, not even the vehicle
that brought her this far, delivered
her liberty to enter and leave, lots
and trails someone else maintains.
Gulley and gutter, septic and deck rot
breached eave, or the rain slicked step
that takes down a harried woman
outside the diner’s door: none of these
ruin her view of the lake’s mercurial face.
She’s so many blessed seats away
from that wet matron who whimpers
and bends beneath a moose mount to mop
her gash with napkins from the salad bar.
Luxury’s only child is grown and gone,
her lovers and husbands handed off
to others to dab and cosset, feed
and bury. She begins where the damp
bandage of all that aims to manage
is unwound, then all that wants managing.
Even that last oily tower of muscled promise,
is paid back to rot and weather’s mastering
hand. She’s come so far north now she knows
the answer to all questions is: acquire
nothing, let the scraped flesh dry.
So what if a rosy glow seeps beneath
the scab and threatens familiar bloom,
frilled and fragrant and slightly fraught,
a touch of the once adored tipped
back into its splay. Cutting him out
of the picture now would be work,
shackle and drag. Let time lap it.
Let the dross cling to the shore,
and need freeze in the deep.
Leslie Adrienne Miller is the author of six poetry collections, including Y (Graywolf Press), The Resurrection Trade, Eat Quite Everything You See, Yesterday Had a Man In It (Carnegie Mellon University Press), Ungodliness, and Staying Up For Love. Miller’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, and Crazyhorse. Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas, she holds degrees in creative writing and literature from Stephens College, University of Missouri, Iowa Writers Workshop, and University of Houston.