Devon Miller-Duggan

Concrete Noun, Abstract Noun, Emotion, Memory
by Devon Miller-Duggan

Tel: archeological site. Layers of fragile bits that nonetheless survive, and there is always, most revealingly for information about daily life, a midden. I remember every time I’ve cut myself on a sherd and every time I’ve done it on purpose (once, only) and every time I’ve slipped a knife against my skin by paying no attention. A kind of fertility. A difference. It has let me be my own myth, my own history, my midden, the works of my hands.

Reality: A maze, a shout, a tangle, a good joke, a labyrinth, a bad joke, a confession, a penance, a closed door opened, an open door closed, a window, a way in, a way out, rage, relief, ritual, return, feathers, dark-in-light, light-in-dark.

To be deprived of shadows: Never have the chance to hide. Never have the chance to be found and saved. Never standing still and knowing the time. Never seeing your dark self stretch out across the wall or ground. Never see yourself flat, or leaning. Your hands never able to tell stories against a child’s wall. Never know from which way the light comes. Nothing is round or many-sided in your sight.

When I was two or three, I’d sometimes wake from naps to find my room gone gray-grainy, like television, even in bright afternoons: The walls were yellow, and there were spinning bright balls between the slats of the crib I still slept in. There was a picture of a child my age, her brown hair bobbed, her shoes a pretty blue, standing punished in the corner. The child in the picture and her corner both flat. Sometimes when I woke in the night as well, the room was gray and I had had the dream of being carried up a hill by men in long robes, toward a house they never reached. Sometimes they carried me on their shoulders, six of them. Sometimes they carried me on a board. They always hummed. Their humming bound me still.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Devon Miller-DugganDevon Miller-Duggan has had poems appear in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, The Indiana Review, The Hollins Critic and elsewhere. She’s won an Academy of American Poets Prize, a fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts, and an editor’s prize in Margie.

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