Three poems by Teresa K. Miller • Empty Mirror

semiahmoo / credit: emsemiahmoo / credit: em

I lift the ban—if you are gone,

you will speak your own language.

You broke my mother and so you broke
me, lost in the thicket of your misfortune.

Sharp brittle branches sticky with bird shit,
dusted with gray down.

If I had a child, she was already mine. We did it backward,

skipping time.

The mouth of the Duwamish smells like creosote. Gravel yard.
Freight train on a rusted trestle.

We lashed a raft together and set off paddling. I wasn’t
yet born. The water dried salty, reliable, cold.

I looked back and you were unqueened—

sudden, without ceremony

Afraid of me.

When did our tormenters become
so frail, pock-marked shell fragment,
grain of sand.

About Teresa K. Miller

A graduate of the Mills College MFA program and two-time National Poetry Series finalist, Teresa K. Miller is the author of sped (Sidebrow) and Forever No Lo (Tarpaulin Sky) as well as co-editor of Food First: Selected Writings from 40 Years of Movement Building (Food First Business Relationships). Her poems and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, DIAGRAM, Alternet, and elsewhere. More info is available at

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