C.J. Miles – three poems

Nothing Like Light Years

My sister will always be three pounds long,
And now I’m up to a pack a day.
In front of her shoebox buried six feet down
I am always telling her, Soon so soon.
I am always telling her, Nothing like light years.


First Poem I Wrote for You

When poets go extinct, will the birds follow? Every love poem is a fossil meant to be unearthed centuries later, from the cracked ribs of a skeleton, dusted and studied, stuck behind a sheath of glass. Thank God this is not a stupid love poem but instead just some words dedicated to the days that keep struggling to find their meaning. I have been thinking about you for so long my thoughts have piled skyscraper tall. I hope they never meet a plane. I hope you never get out of bed without looking both ways. I hope you are thinking about me while you pour your coffee, while you brush your teeth, while you condition your hair for a full two minutes. You are waiting for me to quit cancer and I am waiting to find something that isn’t a side effect of love. Neither of us will quit first. Still, I hope we never stop waiting. I hope we never stop wrinkling. I hope we reach for the prune juice at the same time. And I say and I say and I say, I hope the birds follow the cancer after it kills me.


How to Be a Poet

First, tie a waist around your rope.
Next, throw your waist over a canyon.
Smile more.
Accept that you are not human not beast not
Wilderness nor sound—you are the stick
The caveman scratches against the other
Stick. Yeah, that hurts.
You are every umbrella left at a restaurant,
A lozenge stuck down the neck of a giraffe,
A shotgun wedding to your second cousin,
A Taylor Swift B-side.
God, you suck.


C.J. Miles lives in Iowa with his wife. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Forage, Euonia Review, and Algebra of Owls. He is currently working on a manuscript about being an awesome movie star in a bunch of mostly mediocre action films. Follow him on twitter at @cjmilespoet.

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