Vorfreude by Matthew Miller


(n.) the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures

Turkish coffee, crunch of first snow, calligraphy—
any leaf of paper can be filled with a future never
coming, a past never happening

again. I thumb Instagram feeds. I shake out
blankets, sheets, the crinkles of trail maps,
corners of the sanctuary. Looking for candles.

Letting them burn out, just to rekindle. Every
match lit promises light and heat, a small bit
of comfort. An ambiance of silence, steam

of cinnamon and ginger. I dream of tender
expectation, then march, relentless, to resolution.
But the moment before a page is bent

is breathless with intrigue. The inhale before
the vibration of strings, the poem not yet
put in ink, a story put in motion, beginning.

by Matthew Miller

Twitter: @mattleemiller32
Instagram: @matt.lee.miller

Editor’s Note: The unexpected and thoughtful line breaks of this delightful poem startle the reader into paying attention while subtly reinforcing its allegorical intention.

The Last of the Harvest by Matthew Miller

The Last of the Harvest

I’ve been keeping a census
of squirrels, naming the circus of thieves
who gnaw the blackbirds’ seeds.
With empty beaks, the grackles still sing
a morning song, its solos low
over a chorus of insects. Voices tumble
from the church over the hill,
down the pumpkin vines like geese calls.
All this tangled, impossible
to separate. I don’t have patience
to decide which knot to tear
first. The sunrise splits
over ironwoods and pine. It streaks,
dusty pink, on the white logs of the fire.
As I child, I slept with smoke-
scented sweatshirts, rolled as a pillow.
On Sunday mornings, the songs I liked best
were sung by the dove, perched alone
on cold peaks. I keep trying
to live that moment for the rest of my life.
The weak, beautiful hoot shimmering
up my spine, like grandmother’s voice
reading verses to me. A distant train whistle.
The world is going on, but does it need
me? I listen to birds sullen tweets,
hungry hymns of lament, and I want
to be content. I must get to my feet,
unlock the garden gate and invite
the squirrels to the last of the harvest,
to glean ground cherries and
clean the colors from the grapevine.

by Matthew Miller

Twitter: @mattleemiller32

Editor’s Note: Every line of this beautifully written poem uses precise imagery and thoughtful line breaks to support the central theme.