Monica Mills

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Monica Mills

because doubt touched my father’s hands first

I was born lost in stereo. a single, wavering, tune
scattered about the land like willow seeds
bred for spring, struggling to stand an easy
freedom against winter’s chill. my branches
coiling inward, too new, too fearful of falling
snow and what is found beyond the frost.

my mother, another side of silence, met me after
long hours of labor. not in stereo, but trapped at
edge of her own breath. my limbs, so tight, edges
obscured within her, that perhaps my birth was the
stiff, unsteady, pause between verbs of a dying language.
decipherable only through recollection of those there
to witness what once was immortal and now so human
it frowns at its reflection and listens for a fading song.
yearning for fallen syllables it knows will not appear.

if I see myself correctly: not as my father’s hands,
nor my mother’s breath. only me. Monica. then I
am ash and stone. blood and bone. all of time
whirling within me like the gravity of a sinking sun.
pulling always inward and never away, born for
doubt’s wounding edge and all the frost found
in an untaken breath.

Monica Mills reads “because doubt touched my father’s hands first”


Monica Mills is a Jamaican-American poet, essayist, and storyteller. She is from Maplewood, New Jersey and has a BA in political science and English from Rutgers University. Monica reads poetry for West Trade Review and her recent writing appears or is forthcoming in publications such as Typehouse, FEED, Claw & Blossom and Eunoia Review among others.