Count hours shifted at the Walmart
distribution center. Good money, down payment
on the house, but there will be
When rains come again,
wave sheets on the roof, share
pillows in the church shelter, dig through
donations for cast-off shorts and flip flops.
Recharge phones to scroll the screeds,
fill family tanks and head back
On weekends, pull drywall and drag
kitchen chairs to the burn pile. Neighbors
and distant cousins will help. They’ll not set
the match, but chiffoniers cough
and curl alight in their avid
By September, your new stove is working.
Stream the Byrds and steam brown rice:
easy rider, Hollywood starlet, grains fluffed
and soaked in sweet chili juices,
for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Pack swollen right hand in ice, undress
and sweat under October midnight. Mother chews
ankles unwrapped from oiled foil. Father prefers
salted earlobes, charred and crunchy
on the rims.
James Miller won the Connecticut Poetry Award in 2020. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rabid Oak, North Dakota Quarterly, Scoundrel Time, 8 Poems, Phoebe, Yemassee, Mantis, Concho River Review, Cleaver, Rathalla Review, Worcester Review, Elsewhere and Counterclock. Follow on Twitter @AndrewM1621.