Salamander 2024 Fiction Contest

SUBMIT: May 1 through June 2, 2024 | READING FEE: $15



Matt W. Miller
| poetry


Now day turns ever November
as the schoolyard iron

and plastic of slides, rings,
ladders, and bars

stab into the backfat
of a grey sky and the children

dropping in play upon the mulch
are but mulch themselves

to one day enrich the soil.
This seems as much of earth

as we will ever be,
a skinny quilt of bark

and leaves until we bark
and leave inside tin can

songs of winter.
And yet there is more.

Must be more. Even sour
breath suggests a sweet

that will come, or has.
Something yet warm and wet

breathes between an earth
and sun ever in vine

towards each other. Even
as we are blanket to autumn

bulbs, a thing to soften
the blows of falling children,

even then, the crocus’s death
must doctrine existence.

Matt W. Miller was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is the author of Club Icarus, winner of the 2012 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize, and Cameo Diner: Poems. The recipient of a Wallace Stegner Poetry Fellowship from Stanford University and a Walter E. Dakin Poetry Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, he teaches and coaches at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Our Legend
Abandoned Nest