Carly Joy Miller

Epistle on Desire

Men in the air. Long days long days. My retainer’s tang bookends them.

Sweat and showers turpentine the last kiss.

To remain sweet: Apples and walnuts for breakfast. Vanilla ice cream, coax for sleep.

To be pined over. Pinned. Repetition, a stigmata:

I tried, then tired, of the larger body.

Yet, servant to trembling, I—

a penance in the country of ardor.

To ardor in the country of labor,

to serve the larger body: all

pins and pines toward—

a ridicule of fingers, little blood blossoms.

What slants me is an honest conversation, a sharpness before a storm.

Brown buildings against sky. In every room, you.

Carly Joy Miller is the author of Ceremonial (Orison Books, 2018), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Like a Beast (Anhinga Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Rick Campbell Chapbook Prize. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem a Day, The Laurel Review, Poetry Northwest, Waxwing, and elsewhere. A digital content writer and editor, Carly also teaches in The Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s University in Brooklyn.