"simply because waves break there"
Contradiction as land below sea-level—roads and houses
and a man steps in front of a car to die without meaning to.
Narration scrawls the shallow tray of swamps and clay where I live
and my son watches a man step in front of a car to die
without intent, no more intent than the car or the woman
who was not at fault or the flat-ribboned sky of winter laid
across the horizon or the work of the day toward which the
three humans moved. Man, woman, man, and no meaning.
She was only doing 40.
Distinction consists of salt marshes' blue waters like the sky's mirror,
brown-black semi-earth, grasses' stillness or rustling, and
slant-light-breaking sky. The state's surface laid open.
Sky. Birds. Mouth of a river so broad there is no other shore to name
except you know its name already, as you know it for a river by its
unrolling surface. Man, woman, man—no shore for any to pull
the small boats their lives onto.
Valediction—my son stops and calls for help, waits. He is neither the man,
the woman, nor the machine for driving or healing. Flat road remains
flat. This is my state.
Fiction = The man crossed to the hoped-for shore. The woman arrived at work,
and worked the whole day unwounded. The flat seaboard of their states
filled with clear water. Mountains rose, offering shelter.
My son dreams flying. Dreams neither blood, nor broken glass.
Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, and Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (2008), Neither Prayer, Nor Bird (2013), and Alphabet Year (2017).