Matthew Miller

Toast & Jam

On top of bookshelves, I hide what I love. Pictures you made, ladybugs from May. Morning’s modesty, I am grateful for what sticks. Crushed sugar and fruit rainbow the table. Most people are crumbs, brushed to the floor where discarded grape stems are sharpened to thorns. Every chair angles the leaving. Fresh dew on your bare feet, sparrow tweeting on the porch. The knife stuck in the jar. I want to preserve the blossoming moment, to never see tulip fields with the tops lopped off, or the frayed edges of my tablecloth. Now, buffet doors won’t close, stuffed full of beauty you are done with. Jam holds on the cusp of my teeth. You said you couldn’t. What happens after we fail? Someone must clear the table, clean the mason jar. We canned this fruit two summers ago. Now I lick it from my thumb, spin the metallic lid shut. I scrub drops of strawberry jam until each swipe that doesn’t wipe away becomes my reassurance.

Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry–all hoping to create a home. He pretends his classroom is a living room, filling it with as many garage-sale chairs as he can afford. He lives beside a dilapidated apple orchard and tries to shape the dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. He vacillates between wanting to poison and wanting to feed the groundhogs, rabbits and cardinals that try to make their homes in the garden. For now, they’ve all chosen peace. His latest poetry has been published in Flying Island, PAN-O-PLY, Your Daily Poem and forthcoming in Mothers Always Write.

A Song for Matthew

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