Thunderbird by Jane Miller

Jane Miller reads four poems from her latest collection, Thunderbird, published in July by Copper Canyon Press.


As the ancients detail it 
ecstasy passes over us
in a mist of particles
it lives bare
dies unburied
I finally understand it is raining
it is beautiful
a couple of hawks in a tree
and not the tree entire


Wild Figs

Oleander olive mint
what have you

family money and power
nothing to lose

charcoal smoke from a taverna
and never need shoes

along these washed shores
spit into the sea and shout Divorce!

come home single and in love
with the enemy’s young face at the window

the suicide bomber has boarded the bus
you must accompany her to the border

in the legend you die expected
but in this world there is only practice


A Young Poet

Some prefer being a yellow rose petal
I learned when I traveled

a young poet saying a prayer
is a form of panic

for begging beauty
one can hardly blame the artist

sleeping like butter in the sun
taking no action for action


A Little Myth

about me standing below a window 
shouting Valyntina! Valyntina
until I’m joined by a couple of friends
who happen by
and others on their way to dinner
end up joining in the melody Valyntina!
who apparently is not home
I announce there is no Valyntina
there never was
a little perturbed but forgiving
the crowd dissolves into night mist
but one last voice
stays and tries again Valyntina!
it amounts to so little
yet poetry remains
on nearly every corner calling

Reprinted from Thunderbird with permission of Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2013 by Jane Miller.