Nancy Anne Miller, To Keep The Light

Anne vs Ann

Lopped off by some
Caribbean editors, the e
evokes the name of
a British Queen whose

presence adorned
furniture, stiffens one
with extra backbone,
gives one lion’s feet to

sit in the Empire’s roar.
Without the e, common,
as if shortened from bananas
amply found on a Tribe Road.

Multi-fruit hang, clustered,
a flock of canaries homed. In
the market, tips of a gaggle
splay into the British sunrise.

England Taught Me

England taught me to love the rain,
the privacy it provides,
long tassled drops, on the Victorian
umbrella’s edge of empire.

The splash of footsteps, waves made,
not allowed. There the quiet whispery
life, where even the sun must need
these rosaries strands of water for penance.

For being too bright, noticeable above,
creating the shadow grave of a person,
doing the ordinary. To remind them, Hurry
up. Here is death’s dark angel hovering.

To Keep The Light

She raises her skirt
like a folded sail
as she ascends the
conch spiraled staircase,
full of the sky’s
dizzy whisperings.

The flame of the large
lamp, a needle’s eye in
the rags of the clouds
she watches. A sea caption
to see what a storm brings,
full of lightning’s stitching.

The spinning steps up,
causes a dervish
trance, the ecstasy of
circling. The latitude,
longitude cut of flashes,
the golden pigtail of a girl twirls.

Because You Were Taught To Look

Because you were taught to look
and not to see, you raised the camera
to your eye, a protective mask
to grind the world down in one lens.

Because you were taught to look
and not to see, the paintbrush
slowly lifted its torch of paint
into the cave of a canvas wall.

Because you were taught to look
and not to see, words shadow
the page, can only define
the space of light around them.

Back Scrubber

Hangs from the shower,
bristles protrude earnest
as grass shoots on an April

lawn. Pink plastic holds
a mouth full of white
teeth. I play my torso

with it, a cellist with
a bow, it swings back-
forth over my backside,

a horse’s tail swishes,
eliminates flies. Parts of
my body, so hard to see

except in the oblong
vanity mirror’s pool of
light, a tub from Bonnard.

I float on the glare, try to
swivel my head to locate,
see my back like my past

shimmers behind, ebbs
me quietly forward. The look-
ing glass gloss, wing-like, shines.

Nancy Anne Miller is a Bermudian poet with seven collections: Somersault (Guernica Editions), Immigrant’s Autumn (Aldrich Press), Because There Was No Sea (Anaphora Literary Press), Water Logged (Aldrich Press), Star Map (FutureCycle Press), Island Bound Mail (Kelsay Books), and Boiling Hot (Kelsay Books 2018). She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow, is a MacDowell Fellow, and is internationally published. She resides in Washington, CT.

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