Double Vision

By Wilmer Mills 1969–2011 Wilmer Mills
At Waffle House, they fired her on the spot:
“You talk too much!”
                                        She’d told her customers
That “made” gets “mad” and “poet” goes to “pot”
Without the letter e. The “amateurs,”
She’d said, “inherit everything: the sand,
The stars, the world that only God possesses.”

While washing dishes with a bleeding hand,
She’d told them, “through ‘possession’s’ double ‘esses’
There’s a line that cleaves; things come apart;
‘Refrain’ means both ‘hold back’ and ‘go again’;
Things join in wholes of which they are a part.”

She “touched” the people. Was it such a sin?
Her broken pencil left a double line
On my tab, both legible as one design.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2013
 Wilmer  Mills


The son of agricultural missionaries, poet Wilmer Mills grew up in Brazil and Louisiana. Mills earned both a BA and MA in theology from the University of the South, and worked at a variety of jobs during his life including carpenter, sawmill operator, baker, farmer, and white water raft guide. He also served as the Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acclaimed as a careful practitioner of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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