When the chickens hear my voice
and run with shameless excitement
for stale bread, wilted lettuce, discarded weeds,
When I wake in the night with your arm across
my stomach, and an owl outside our window speaks
with conviction the same sure word,
When I stand in our children’s dark
rooms, and know them even in sleep by the rhythm
of their breathing, their scent, their soft groans,
When that honky-tonk band took the stage,
a beer was cold in my hand, and you
danced beside me in that shirt with horseshoes
and flowers and pearl button snaps . . .
Last night I dreamed I held our sweet baby.
I stood in a river while the water
below slowly drained away.
I woke so sad beside you. Because it’s awful
either way — rolling around that loop
of eternity forever, or nothing at all.
I thought of waking you like I would
in our early days, of pushing my face
into your neck, feeling your warm words
in my hair. Instead I let you
sleep, moved closer and held all of you:
Voice. Story. Skin. Before the water drains
completely, before there is just dust.
Stacy Boe Miller is a metal smith, jewelry artist, writer, mother, and wife. She lives in Moscow, Idaho.
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