At sea there are only lovers
and their lack. Cracked stones,
a rill of foam on reefs—always the hum of wanting,
its sail-snap. In the old songs,
there is a coming home,

a looking across the waves’
thin-skimmed ridges, the sea
conspiring with silt clouds.

How, then, on the water—
on the floating bar’s dull wood—
a woman bent bare, another’s lips

chasing liquor splashed along
her skin, and me with all the others
watching? What wanting in this,

what lover in this darkness come home to,
stumbled in sweat, the ruckle
of salt on a stranger’s tongue—


Matthew Moser Miller

Matthew Moser Miller is a born-and-raised Ohioan. He studied creative writing at Denison University and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan; some of his recent work can be seen in The Offing, Gettysburg Review, Devil's Lake, Sycamore Review, Narrative, and Prairie Schooner. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, he now lectures at the University of Michigan.

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