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Abby Millager
Poems

About the Poet
Abby Millager is the author of Hairwork (Doll's Eye Press, 2010) and co-founder with Eve Rifkah of Diner: a journal of poetry, interviews and reviews.

She has published widely, taught writing and during her undergraduate years at Yale University, studied molecular biophysics and biochemistry.

She earned an MD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars.

She has been awarded poetry and creative non-fiction fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, and was a poetry fellow at the Vermont Studio Center.


Fall 2012 Poems »
Remembering Kilimanjaro
..for André

You, this—above the treeline,
rock face, magnetic core

I unfocus in you

breathless wind

the caldera of your arms

~

On Folding a Woman
.
the face
should be perpendicular
.
the eyes
should plead you sane
.
this biology of acts
it comes as innocence lost
.
in little shames
.
.
crack the knob
the south ring finger
.
sheaves
open and explode
.
each oblivious darling
unrolling its sleeves
.
the deed is done
.
.

~

Love Bid from the Parasitic

Threading the marrow,
solving the maze
of trabeculae

I am your blood.

You are unaware

but I love you
from within. I am the helix,
the enzyme, the vacuole,

that salt sea
plumping every cell.

You may not remember me

but I can recall
each twitch and thought
each synaptic act, intent
and pain. Even now

I follow your pebbly tongue
atwist on its stem. At night,
I inhabit your scent.

Am I wrong

to expect or desire
a sign? I feel so cold

smoking out here
in the stairwell.

~

Dog in the Meadow
on the woodcut by Leonard Baskin

Dog, you are melting down, having pricked
your nose on a spindle of milkweed. A hundred-year tangle
has twisted up. You were such a good dog—never bit
or worried. And moments of glory—Leap Day Sundays,
turkey buzzard carcasses dragged, unpunctured, from that swamp—
did occur.

Then, you were young
and in love with yourself and the Mardi Gras dancer
who bound your torn dew claw in her dresser scarf.

Everything was food or not food.


But, as with marriage, sometimes
nothing kills a dog.

One day, he slips, climbing out of the pond. He neglects
to fetch. Birds stop minding him. His tail turns
into an artificial limb.

Practically everything tastes like metal.


(How a dog lowers his head, where
he buries his bones, how
a dog goes soft
in a meadow...)

You become immune
to all things known: brick house, cat with the velvet throat—
the whole litter of memory, now—motes in the skeleton
of light at rest
in the arms of the bramble.

~

I’m Not Listening! I Am Flying
on Leonard Baskin's portrait of Wm Blake

A perilous path divides his face: the public side,
its lucid pupil, its respectable shading—

and the Other—black river gushing
from the Galaxy of Un-Reason. Yes

the eye is there but the eye is blind—overexposed,
a burn, a Peephole

to the Infinite. God
is every Man, Blake’s voices say. One thought,

fills immensity.
I search my own head:

there are Pastries and Paradoxes
and Orchestrations
of the Angels of Hell
I must attend to,

there are Worlds at stake,
Powers and Energies dragging their prey
through clumps of grass, clouds
boiling down
the harsh declines
of Judgment’s shoulders.

Exuberance is Beauty;
I uncover Racks and Blades and Buckets and Fires,
and Scaffolds to swing from—I can stand the rope!

But I can’t smash past
those smeary windows
you people hold me to.

The soul of sweet delight, can never be defil’d.
Gluttonize! Fornicate! STOP STOPPING ME!

You don’t know what God wants.

~

~ Abby Millager

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