Anser Journal

The Fervour of Youth

By Jay Miller

These handymen above my head,
I swear,
must get paid by the hammer swing!
I type quite dastardly,

as though I myself got paid for hammering.
The nail in the coffin pings.
My discarded drafts rest on the sofa,
softening the blow.

I am William Carlos Williamsing,
hoping to sprout myself a harrowing,
if not at least some sort of eulogy thing,
I can turn into an ode.

The hearses pass by my window,
our apartment on the hill,
me,
looking out below.

No,
and there is no glow.
Only a light emanating from the chapel
beneath my window sill,

where I sit clacking away
still,
with the typewriter plugged in,
a hot mug of cacao on the go.

Old men talk in quatrains.
I don’t aspire as much but tend to
gravitate towards aging
every keystroke I finger.

The feeling always lingers,
the hunger on my palate,
another new ballad
or sonnet, or prose.

I’m not one of God’s children,
Big God is like Big Brother to me.
But every Sunday I am Ron Padgett.
I live by a cemetery, by the way, no big thing.

Perhaps it shows.
I’d never know.
Next year I’m twenty-eight.
There is so much in me yearning to grow.

I forgot what I was rhyming for,
these notes to self like grocery lists,
we hammer out autobiographies like blacksmiths,
collecting plastic bags in the cupboard for later.

We meander, it’s all right.
The seasons change and so did night.
Here’s little cause for leitmotif:
harping’s for musicians, I keep things light.

Lean into me and you’ll feel warm and safe.
My arms feel huge holding your little face.
Your eyes shrink when you close them
and your eyelashes are the perfect length.

I’ll never forget the time you told me,
beginning Jay, I think I have something
to tell you. I said shoot.
I think I’m in love with you.

Now this pandemic has kept us two
worlds apart, you in Europe,
me in America.
You know I worried we’d go sour. Like grapes.

It’s been a long year yet
the old adage rings true:
absence makes the heart
grow fonder and I love you, too.


Jay Miller is an editor, book reviewer and poet. He writes and works in Montreal.