Poetry: Two Poems by Stacy Boe Miller

These two poems make secrets feel familiar. Stacy Boe Miller archives moments here, in “Hollow” and “Boil Down”—small, intimate moments of childhood, of death and love and the body, knocking together like pearls on a string you’d wear to a wedding, or a funeral.



My secrets are the bones
of broken birds waiting
beneath a white pine. I knelt
until my knees ached,
plucked one by one
from dust: small skulls,
femurs, rib cages,
ilia like miniature crescent
moons. I nestled them in my
pocket, allowed them
to remain through chores,
through dinner. A sweet weight
against my thigh. Her hands
in the same place years
later in the closet of the church
basement. Breath into breath. Breast
against breast among communion
wafers and Lysol. The rhythm
of worshipers wrapping our bodies
like I folded those secret
bones in cotton squares stolen
from my mother. The ceremony
of closing corners over white,
bending soft around rigid
tibia, vertebrae, femur,
keel. For years they lay
under my bed in a cigar box
I opened in silence to examine
the scaffolding of short
lives, fractured
frames of what was possible:
early morning song, wind lifting light
feathers, warm as her words in my hair,
her fingers roaming
my ribs brushing against
my shoulder blades,
the whisper of almost wings.

Boil Down

Dirtied rivers circling
my mouth, tiny bones under
my bed. I abused the neighbor’s
dog once, just for a moment. Who’s
in charge now? Filled
with the Holy Spirit. A stranger
on a bus reaching around
the stranger between us, a hand on
the back of my neck. Campfire
in my lungs, mothball in
my mouth. The scar
on my back numb
in the very worst way. An older boy holding me
down, dropping bits of chewed apple
in my mouth. Collapsed-weeping
in the clean shower water
again. What’s another word
for weeping? A robin bashing her body
against my window. Your finger
on my lips in the Sunday
school room. This blood seeping
through my light green jeans. Jesus
on the wall of our church hungry
as the deer too weak to carry herself off
Snow Road. My family following
in the van slowly, slowly, no one
saying a word.



Stacy Boe Miller

Stacy Boe Miller is a second year MFA Creative Writing candidate at the University of Idaho where she serves as marketing editor for Fugue Literary Journal. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in The Ekphrastic ReviewThe Examined Life JournalMothers Always Write, and The Pacific Northwest Inlander. She is also a mom, jewelry artist, and metalsmith.

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