Sarah Miller


Since you ask, I sold the spaghetti maker
last fall, at a friendís garage sale.
A college student bought it, my friendís orange couch,
and a block of wood we had been using
as a makeshift table. The spaghetti maker
was going to be dismantled for a robotics class--
something about the motor--
I tried to explain that paper schematics
rarely convert to working prototypes.
The studentÖ well, you know students.
The spaghetti makerís gone.

Your watch is at the pawn shop. It paid for my DVD player,
partly. The rest of the money
came from the golf clubs in the attic.
At the time, I thought they were my grandfatherís.
I felt a little guilty. But now that you ask for them,
I find myself enjoying movies even more.

The pawn ticket may be around somewhere,
probably in the garden acting as a label
for the beans or carrots. I was running out of cardboard
toward the end. I never understood gardening
until I locked the door behind you: how rich
the sound of spading dirt could be, or how unexpected
the smell of fresh-dug earth in the morning--
better than coffee. I planted everything.

You understand? Every last scrap of clothing
you left in this house is buried
under my vegetables.

The garden is chaotic, I admit.
There was an addiction in mixing dirt and water,
in watching all your belongings disappear
under black, sodden earth. There are earthworms,
too; very healthy for the roots, Iím told.
Perhaps not for your cotton shirts.
I will leave th gate unlocked. Consider
the pawn ticket my last words to you. Walk carefully
when you come; stay out of the dirt.
Itís not that I care if your shoes get muddy--
this is not a lesson in civility--
but I am growing something out of what
you left behind, and there is nothing here,
not even the dirt, that is yours to harvest.

Location: Cambridge, England
Publications: Verse Libre Quarterly, 3rd Muse, Poems Niederngasse, Stirring, 2River, Wicked Alice, etc.
Awards: Pushcart Nomination (2004; from Stirring); Margaret Raynal Fiction Award (2002)
Edior of: Half Drunk Muse

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