Wind wracks the limbs, lightning 

scars the birch and we burrow 


in the scrub by the mill 

where mud is still the riverbank 


from the last time 

we made it rain like this. There’s rattle 


in the leaves, in levers

left to settle in the mortar


and granite of tunnels, turbines,

in the rule of a tower bell.


Perhaps this is all   

we’ve to come to expect


in all the cotton sugar can spin,

all the tubercular threads 


risked in a shuttle’s kiss, the way 

we’re thrown out only to warp


back in. Me, I kept wanting  

my redbrick river of city, kept 


climbing through it to finger 

all its cantilever


and cobblestone, its locks

and its syringe lit bones.


But it just kept growing,

like grass mantling graveyards,


spooling out beyond my toes, 

until it disappeared completely.


Matt W. Miller is the author of the collections The Wounded for the Water, Club Icarus, and Cameo Diner. He is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Poetry at the Sewanee Writers' Conference.