by Leslie F. Miller

she and I will pour with nonchalance the contents of this marble box: three dog whiskers, the fang of a tarantula, her dried umbilical cord, pinched and blue like a stone, the orange feather of a friend’s fancy bird, grammy’s shimmering silver bridge, my own four wisdom teeth, and a few good misspelled fortunes, delighting in your awkward squirm as something animal rolls across the ripples in the couch and touches your naked thigh.

she saved the cord! you’ll say to them later, as if we are somehow broken, this well-practiced list your new soliloquy against a mother and her girl, but we are all tethered to our treasures, and who’s to judge the things we save: the care with which you dig the dahlia corms and tuck them in a burlap sack, the flowers that you paralyze in books, the seeds you squeeze in envelopes. who’s to judge a box of lonely things we couldn’t bring ourselves to lose?


Leslie F. Miller likes to break things and put them back together in a random, yet tasteful, order. She is a writer, a photographer, a graphic designer, and a mosaic artist who holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her first nonfiction book, Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt, was published in 2009 by Simon & Schuster. She is currently working on a book of poems made of words suggested by Facebook friends. “Quiescence” is one of those Facebook poems.

4 Responses to “Quiescence”

  1. […] is National Poetry Month in the United States. To celebrate, we offer a poem from Leslie F. Miller. Her work is somehow both surprising and intimate. We think you’ll love it. You should know […]

  2. Wonderful poem of receiving, giving and breaking.

  3. Well done, Leslie.

  4. […] joy? I don’t know, but it does. (I’ve written about my “gross things box” before.) There’s a sculpture of a falconer from my mom’s partner Lenny, which looks remarkably […]

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