Devon Miller-Duggan: “Variations”


Looking down
across the
purpled roofs—
I reach out
for your hand.

I clasp air,
which turns to

You are my
church and my
wonders from
books of lists.

The turquoise
St. George glass
in Freiburg’s
we were there
I won’t come
here again
without you.

We are each other’s watchmakers—correcting gears, brushing dust, re-winding springs, then facing each to each and telling time like seven candlesticks. We were each other’s lathes, carving our rough branches to same-length-but-mismatched legs for the table made to hold our feast. We were changelings returned to each other’s waiting arms. We were the Long Day and Antediluvian Longevity compressed into the body of one dove.

Be my friction-pulley, slide me through your gears.
Be my water motor, spill me through your years.
Be my crank-pin-lathe, file me fine as hairs.

Stag and Vine me, darling, I will be your field.
Arrow-shoot my bird’s breast, surely I will yield.
Juno and the Peacock me, I promise to be stilled.

I’m cardamom and nutmeg, so heat me in some butter.
I’m rosemary and thyme and dill—chop me with your cutter.
I’m ginger, summer savory, and sage—steam me in your water.

What clouds assume the most fantastic shapes?
For now, that’s our hearts’-house.

How purple-glowing is our hearts’-home?
Let’s go make up the mushroom bed we’ve gathered from.

What’s the dark?
The heart divided into two unequal, necessary chambers,

How to count depth by dropping torches?
Yet we find the river.

We’ll build all through the time we have—
spruce up our Palace of the Sun, add shine to our new history and histories
and make the country that we are seethe earth-oil.
We’ll build the veranda you’ve always wanted on our house.
Dear husband, I recommend me to you.


Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008), Neither Prayer, Nor Bird (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Alphabet Year (Wipf & Stock, 2017).

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