Town Pier

A memorial plaque
to a woman who “delighted in this view”
separates two men
sitting on a harbor-facing bench.

Her son:
early 30s,
sun-bleached curls a stylish chaos,
a lento baritone stalled by “umms”,
one hand cooled by a glass of homemade Kombucha.
A shellfisherman who surfs
while the tide salts his oyster beds.

Her husband:
late 60s,
an Ivy League blowback in icy gray,
flawless grammar issued forth by a presto tenor,
one hand warmed by a mug of black coffee.
A retired editor in demand for doubles—
if not for his backhand then for his rib-ticklers.

They look upon a coastline
as sharp-cut
as their profiles.
Deriding the town selectmen for acts of corruption,
they also shake their heads in disbelief
at neighbors’ asking prices
for properties that lack even a glimpse of the bay.
In other words, they gossip.

But in the breathing spaces
her imagined presence
moors them to the pier.


Beyond the Last Stop on the Commuter Train

One afternoon I watched you skipping stones.
If Love is a locale
then we ensconced there–
a fishing village just beyond
the last stop on the commuter train.
Admit it:
My gaze intensified your technique.
Show-offs can be such good providers,
even if the gift is an indulgence
in skimming the surface.

Later I will devise a memory
from a perspective I never experienced.
Soft lighting with
your dark hair casting no shadow.
A tight two-shot
somehow scented like a Victorian love letter.

An event curates itself–
a countdown to a reunion.
My confession:
When you are not here, I take your seat at the table.
Later I lie in your indent on the mattress.
No doubt a disorder explains my behavior.

But before we diagnose each other
let’s imagine the remembrance of how happy
we look in the photo we compose upon your return–
trim, with all the right wrinkles.
Your cologne recites ginger and bergamot
and I find the right vase and place for your flowers
in a cabin in a fishing village
just beyond
the last stop on the commuter train.


Edward Miller

Edward Miller

Edward D. Miller is Professor of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island and on the faculty of the programs in Theatre and Film at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His creative works appear in Counterexample Poetics, Hinchas de Poesia, Wilderness House Literary Journal, The Boston Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Red Fez, Drunk Monkeys, Bloodstone Review, Handsy, and The Bangalore Review.