Leslie F. Miller

Traffic Ticket

Cosmo says you’ll donate to my cause, do me
favors if I flaunt a pushup bra, sublime kicks,
roll my poison tongue in colored sugar.

I always thought this worldly grace enough,
officer, I cry, but beneath this sheer top
is pellucid intention. I drink, and I drive fast.

My life is rich with secret advice on hair and love.
I line my cage with it.

Look into the welcoming bosom of my eyes,
each blink heaving like a boat above the swell.

Oedipal Arrangements

I’m old enough to be your mother.
she and I have coffee on Tuesdays
and I plug my ears as she talks
about your dysfunctions
how long you wet the bed
your acne and the way your thighs
chafe from blue jean seams.
she hates your blowup girlfriend
her pierced tongue and firm parts
and I might hate her too
if I were listening to the plot
that brews beneath each sip.
when she gets up to pee I breathe.
I see you in the pass through
shirtless in jeans, your hair wet.
you reach into the still life with fruit
seductive prop on the counter
and take the first apple like you own it
winking as you bite, soundless, slow,
spray of juice glistening on your cheek.
and I can’t help but wonder
about the fruit, the grapes plump
and fragrant, the pears and berries
plucked ripe, can’t help but wonder
if you have outgrown the irritation
to denim, what it’s like to have a stud
on the tongue and what in the name
of god is keeping your mother.  

Leslie F. Miller breaks things and put them back together in a random, yet tasteful, order. As a writer, photographer, and mosaic artist, she makes the small big and the big small.

Her first book of nonfiction, Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt (Simon & Schuster, 2009), chronicles the many times she has eaten cake from the trash can or a strange child’s plate. Leslie’s poetry, fiction, essays, photographs, and articles—some the winners of small awards—have been published in magazines, newspapers, and journals across the country.