Feature > Poetry
Joseph Millar

Joseph Millar

Joseph Millar's third collection, Blue Rust, was published by Carnegie Mellon in 2012. His poems have won fellowships from the  Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA and a Pushcart Prize. He is core faculty at Pacific University's low residency MFA.

Language

Her fallen arch which you bend across
kissing the knobs of her feet, the patchy glaze

of her toenails rendering you half drunk
in the heat. Why not forget your mother's voice

scattered like ashes in the surf, the saltwater
trenches and ocean caverns' violent fiery birth.

Shot through with holes, the place you were born
buzzing with locusts, hornets and flies,

a gray dove nests below your window
listening to her mate's anonymous cry,

the estuary spread like an aging hand,
the paring-knife moon and two-lane bridge

and your lips which are grazing her ankle now
the tongue's flat muscle, the palate's ridge

echoing the doorway of childhood's
language, its trances of taste and smell,

the sounds formed somewhere back of the teeth
and shaped in the mouth's vestibule.

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