the fourteenth

What I Mean When I Call You Beautiful


is socks slipping
like ballet dancers
on ice, or flies quietly
finding escape from
anxiety in lamp shades.
Or I’m reminded of your curls
the day Grandpa brushed
your elbow, whispering you
were the prettiest bride.
Sweet, spiced tea
stirred counterclockwise,
sheets already warm
on your side, or the garden
tilled while you swirl
wine. What I mean is
sunrise and goodnight, has
the hint of honeymoon,
opening drawers with scents
of coconut and lime. I mean seven
bookmarks on your nightstand,
twenty-one tabs of how to
use tahini and chickpeas,
your journal growing
dogeared, creased, becoming more
voluminous. What I mean
when I call you beautiful
is a maple with green leaves
flung up to sun or dew,

I mean that you
are fully you.


Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry - all hoping to create home. He and his wife live beside a dilapidating orchard in Indiana, where he tries to shape dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. His poetry has been featured in River Mouth Review, Club Plum Journal, Whale Road Review and Ekstasis Magazine.others. Website:

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