After the Fever: A Pastoral

Wayne Miller Click to

Wayne Miller is the author of three poetry collections: The City, Our City (Milkweed Editions, 2011; forthcoming) The Book of Props (Milkweed Editions, 2009) Only the Senses Sleep (New Issues, 2006) He has edited two books: Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master (Pleiades Press, 2011; forthcoming) New European Poets (Graywolf Press, 2008) He has translated one book: I Don’t Believe in Ghosts (BOA Editions, 2007), by Moikom Zeqo (trans. from Albanian) He is also the Editor of Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, and teaches at the University of Central Missouri.

After four months, the fever withdrew into her,

past the vanishing point, and now it was impossible

to remember how fully it had filled her,

like light soaking the tissue of a leaf. Outside,

the traffic thinned to a word—so we split a cigarette

on the porch with the speaker in the window

and listened to Robert Johnson press his voice

against the City (—a crystal quivering in the microphone).

The heavy book in my hands never opened—

it was there only to keep me still.

When the last song ended, the notes dropped

from their thumbtacks back into the soil,

and then the sky had grown noticeably darker—

it wasn’t late; it was simply going to rain.


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