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Winter 2019/20

Joe Millar


You never knew the singer's name
with her voice of sand and ice

or the man playing keyboards behind her
sideways to the audience.

She was the last flower of autumn
bowing with her lips to the mike

and the piano was the dark wheelbarrow
planted with yarrow and spice.

Alas, my dears, a man alone
is a torn sleeve smelling of dust and coal.

He stays up drinking coffee with milk
then drives all night toward the north pole

trying to outrun the dawn.
In the dark he forgets he’s growing old,

bred to the cold to make a living
though sometimes he lets the big trucks pass,

pulls over to watch the stars crossing heaven
and piss in the withered grass.



Joseph Millar’s fourth collection, Kingdom, was published by Carnegie-Mellon in 2017. He leaves his shoes around the house for others to trip over.


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