The Tower Journal

William Miller

Open Casket

A grieving man
drove a Model-T
all night.

And he reached
the graveyard
before the pine
box was buried,
the first dirt

He asked to see
the body, one last
time, and the lid
was lifted free.

And he saw his
brother, the one
he played with
on this very hill
of stones.

They fired cap
pistols, fell down;
death was ten

And they ate dinner
on the ground,
told stories about
his brother
at different ages.

They talked and laughed
until the evening
shadows fell
across them,
their brother
come home.

Wilde’s Train

At two o’clock,
the prison train
pulled in the dock.

Oscar wore chains
and manacles,
as if there were
downs to run to,
escape over.

And the crowd
shouted his name,
and worse, the names
of his crimes …

He almost cried,
but knew that
that would make
the mob shout
even louder …

Every afternoon,
in gray Paris,
his hands shook,
salt stung his eyes.

Finally, he
had to know if
those voices
were real, lasting.

It rained hard
on his outdoor table,
the only glass
of wine he
could afford.

No train stopped;
no one laughed …

And he thought
how absurd he must

the mad poet
dreaming in spite
of the rain,
his life a farce
not a tragedy.

Copyright © 2016 William Miller

William Miller  is the author of five collections of poetry, twelve books for children and a mystery novel. He lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

The Tower Journal
Winter  2016