SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: FIERCE THIS FALLING

                                       Cover art by Rachel Melis. Cover design by Judith Kerman.


FROM FIERCE THIS FALLING
By Betsy Johnson-Miller


WHAT IF WINTER IS MY BUDDHA

I concentrate

on envy,
for those who are free

of winter
are surely at peace.

Holding onto winter
like a hot coal, intent
on throwing it at someone else,

I am not about
to have compassion
for winter—even if each
winter has its own suffering—

I am not about to discover
my winter and then—
with all my heart—give
myself over to it.

“Are you awake?” my husband asks.

“No. I am winter.”


[AN OWL ON THE DEAD]

An owl on the dead branch one day
perfect feathers. Wild.

I can see the branch from my window

its height—some heaven—where living things are watched
until they die.

My father died a month ago today, his body made light
by fire

so how were his ashes so heavy?

Birds are already hollow
in their bones

so when it is all over their dead are easy
to bear.


A LOST GOSPEL OF EVE

Okay. Naked.

And the guy.

I get the outcome of fall.

All it sorrowed.

We work.

From when the left sky is shining.

To a dark dark.

I don’t mind that.

It’s the turn of his face now.

And his back.

It’s all this earth.

I have a feeling it wants.

Whatever is living.

Inside me.


Today’s poems are from Fierce This Falling, published by Mayapple Press, copyright © 2012 by Betsy Johnson-Miller, and appear here today with permission from the poet.


Fierce This Falling: “Belief” and “disbelief” are the easy answers to spiritual quests. In her latest collection, Fierce This Falling, Betsy Johnson-Miller explores the much tougher road that is “faith”–the dangerous openness to possibility (“Living lately on my knees, it feels perverse / this waiting for crumbs from the universe”). As readers, we bear witness to her wanting, her watching, her waiting; to those precious, small epiphanies of a woman who is “lost on a good road.” Johnson-Miller’s words are at once measured… and fiercely beautiful. -Robert Gray, Contributing Editor, Shelf Awareness


Betsy Johnson-Miller writes and lives in Minnesota. She teaches at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, and her work has appeared in Agni (online), Cortland Review, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Portland magazine, 5 A.M., Mid-American Review, and Salamander.


Editor’s Note: Fierce This Falling is a mediation on faith, marriage, and loss. On what makes us human and what it is to struggle with our most intimate and trying relationships. Within a lyrical realm of her own design, Betsy Johnson-Miller turns inward with a keen and often painfully honest insight. The roots of her quest reach as far back as the creation of mankind and blossom in the beauty and suffering of the moment at hand.


Want to see more by Betsy Johnson-Miller?
Buy Fierce This Falling from Mayapple Press
Rain When You Want Rain from Mayapple Press
“If you are traveling with a live child” on AGNI

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Contributing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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One Response to SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: FIERCE THIS FALLING

  1. Maya Elashi says:

    “I am not about to have compassion for winter” is a hilarious line~~~all the rest is pretty pithy but, there are pieces of Eve~~~at present~~I don’t just do not understand.

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