David P. Miller

Every Kind of Being

A Golden Shovel poem, based on a statement by Paul Cézanne, translated by Christopher Pemberton

Imagine it’s the case that objects
adopt us. We’re the ones who enter
their territories. Accepted into
their domains, or forbidden, each
amusement park ashtray or other

“whimsy.” So we think them, but they –
like this hedgehog doorstop – never
lapse in determination. When you stop,
sudden swerve at a yard sale, living -
room knickknack hungry, they look straight at you.

The beach glass mobile, you understand,
becomes the morning porch reading. Imperceptibly,
its colors burnish the mug. They,
together with the book pile, extend
the sidewalk pageant of leashed dogs beyond
eye-level evodia leaves. They themselves
are your sight. Eyeglasses pull shoreline through
the lenses, on a train car intimate
with passing marshland or sail reflections.

It’s simply a proposition: as
we spill with craft or cunning, we
mosaic ourselves across what objects do.
We turn in our sleep by
how the quilt folds. Exchange looks
with the ebony elephant, keepsake urn, or
any other thing more tangible than words.

About the Author

David P. Miller’s collection, Bend in the Stair, was published by Lily Poetry Review Books in 2021. Sprawled Asleep was published by Nixes Mate Books in 2019. His poems have appeared in numerous journals. “Add One Father to Earth” was awarded an Honorable Mention by Robert Pinsky for the New England Poetry Club’s 2019 Samuel Washington Allen Prize competition. In 2018, he retired from Curry College, Massachusetts, where he was a librarian.