Friday, September 12, 2014

Joseph Mills: 'Admitting what we haven't read'


We play the party game,
admitting what we haven't read.
Jane Eyre, Madame Bovary,
anything of Faulkner's.
Amid mock gasps, we name titles
with a mix of embarrassment,
swagger, and relief
that we can finally reveal
how we never made it
more than twenty pages
into Portrait of a Lady,
Middlemarch, Moby Dick.
We don't bother pretending
we'll get to them eventually.
We're confessing, but unrepentant,
and then we begin to get serious:
the newspaper, warning labels,
the mortgage, legal contracts,
every Christmas card from her
for the last twenty years,
the letter he sent before he died,
the lab's blood results last month
and this month and the next.

-- From "This Miraculous Turning" (Press 53, $14.95 paper), by Joseph Mills, who teaches at the UNC School of the Arts. He is co-author, with his wife Danielle Tarmey, of  "A Guide to North Carolina's Wineries." His poetry collections include "Somewhere During the Spin Cycle," "Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers," "Love and Other Collisions," and "Sending Christmas Cards to Huck & Hamlet." Virginia poet Kelly Cherry says "...these poems show us how to live with one another."


Karon Luddy said...

Wow, Dannye, what a riveting and heartbreaking poem. Thanks for sharing it.

Unknown said...

Karon, thank you so much for commenting. You will love this guy's collection.