One Day

Everything shimmers
with the sound of the train
rattling over the bridge
especially the ears and nostrils and teeth
of the horse riding out
to the pasture of death
where the long train runs
on diesel fuel
that used to run on coal.
I keep listening
for the crickets and birds
and my words fall down below.

I mistook the train for a thunder storm,
I mistook the willow tree
for a home, it's nothing to brag about
when you think of it
spending this time all alone.
I wandered into the hay field
and two ticks jumped in my hair
they dug in my scalp
and drank up my blood
like the sweet wine of Virginia,
then left me under the Druid moon
down here on earth in the kingdom.


Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Millar. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 24, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"This poem was written in the country, near a train, with a horse-pasture nearby, and it was written from a suggestion to 'mistake something for something else'—kind of an anti-simile. Lately these rhymes have been showing up as well, which has been a pleasure and has encouraged more goofing around."
—Joseph Millar