Kevin Miller

Chrome and Oranges


Some days I drag what I have done
like a sack of wet laundry,
the more I lug the heavier it gets,
and if I don’t tend to it, it sours.
Tub of guts, we said as kids—
it had nothing to do with towing,
still this knowing attracts flies.
Might as well add envy to the pile,
jealous as I am of those able to forget.
And while stench may be a trigger,
I cannot recall the name of the woman
at work who smelled like shower steam
on powdered skin every morning for ten
glorious years. Instead, something I said
to J.B. forty years ago appears like a bull
on the highway. It gives asphalt a lesson
on black, leaves me replaying a stupid beef
over a woman who left both of us.
The Christmas I was ten I rode my new bike
to Richard’s to show off all that chrome.
He showed me checkers and an orange.
Those handlebars rust at the bottom of the sack.
Bad days, I hang each item on a line.
They sag like wet squares of sheetrock.
From a distance, you might wonder how
one man could own so many white shirts.


“Chrome and Oranges” previously appeared in the Massachusetts Review.

Kevin Miller lives in Tacoma, WA. Pleasure Boat Studio published his third collection, Home & Away: The Old Town Poems in 2008. Miller taught in the public schools of Washington State for thirty-nine years. He received grants from Artist Trust and Tacoma Arts, and received the Bumbershoot/Weyerhaeuser Publication Award for his first collection, Light That Whispers Morning.

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