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  • Making Lunch, and: Patience
  • Joseph Millar (bio)

Making Lunch

Because nothing I see this morning brings us closer to spring, snow falling out of the Jersey sky into the cloudy river, wet shoes facing toe-in by the stove, the uppers spotted with rock salt [End Page 22]

and because each sound signifies winter— wind in the wires and the far-off train like the voice of a child circling the planet looking for a place to be born—

I spread out the mustard like a gold map over the slabs of rye and lay down the sliced mozzarella holding the tomatoes for last

because they are acid and red and grow on a clustered vine staked up in a cage in another country of sunlight and olives

where children run barefoot chasing a rusty bicycle rim and the grass clumps up through cracks in the bricks next to a stone bridge scaled with gray lichen, and the warm earth swollen with black truffle fungi, smells of bay leaves and wine. [End Page 23]


for E. M., composer

How long must we wait for the slender moon to shine down its light on piano keys yellow with age, for the living, ordinary notes of the nocturne to divide the crimes of pretending from the crime of falling asleep?

I’m afraid of the oil rising into the Gulf where the drilling rig has exploded, the black snake climbing the fence post to swallow the catbird’s eggs.

How long till the fat man lying back in the next room holding the guitar to his chest like a piece of wreckage keeping him afloat opens his mouth to sing?

You reach out your hand like the messiah of pawn shops, of late-night trains coming down from the north, the flute in its dark red velvet case beginning to tarnish and fade . . .

You reach out your other hand over the brick work, wide awake in the dazzle of spring, green pollen fallen like coal dust onto the window glass. [End Page 24]

Joseph Millar

Joseph Millar’s three collections are Overtime, Fortune, and most recently, Blue Rust, all available from Carnegie Mellon. He teaches in the low-residency mfa program at Pacific University.



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