These helpless crying laughing smiling terrified falling toppling reaching drooling chewing things these creatures these babies these children of you and not you and they need you and look for you and seek for you count on you and all the seconds of your day swaddled in them from wake up crying to changing to feeding and checking schedules to see who can pick up who can drop off who can sleep in who needs to be up who has cleaned what and where is the purple blanky and that white stuffed puppy who can call in sick who can afford to be sick by cleaning up the midnight vomit who’s turn to get up who’s turn to feed and who has time to write oh to write what a selfish want what a small and insignificant thing to want to put down words because look your daughter look your son there are no words so there are no words and so so tired our babies have murdered sleep to sleep perchance a whole four hours straight to write to still want to write the ego that won’t let go and there’s work too and there’s playdates and paper plate parties and who are these people just say hello and fall on the couch at home and maybe tonight there will be time there will be time to write a line or two and swell a progress yet how go forward when my heart is here and here the long days and here the quick years and here they are growing up and all those morning evening weekend hours playing on the floor and now they’re leaving heading out the door all on their own and now all on my own my time my own excuse of toy store shackles thrown and really ever it was my own to own my time my choices and never regret all the blank pages I didn’t get to before because for the all the words that didn’t come all the ones tacking in yet there’s them and us, there’s something more.
Matt W Miller was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Wounded for the Water (Salmon Poetry) , Club Icarus (University of North Texas Press), selected by Major Jackson as the 2012 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize winner, and Cameo Diner: Poems (Loom). He has published work previously in Slate, Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Southwest Review, Southeast Review, Florida Review, Third Coast, The Rumpus, Poetry Daily, and other journals. He was winner of the 2015 River Styx Micro-Beer, Micro-fiction Prize and Iron Horse Review’s 2015 Trifecta Poetry Prize. He has been awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in Poetry from Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He has taught creative writing and literature at Stanford University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, New England College, Harvard Extension and the Concord State Prison for Men. He teaches English and coaches football at Phillips Exeter Academy where he also co-directs the Writers’ Workshop at Exeter. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife Emily Meehan and their children Delaney and Joseph.