When my grandmother fell through
the floorboards, she cupped her hands
to create an echo that crosses
five acres of cows, and they do not know how
to listen. Cows do not know how to move
closer in open fields. They need
guidance whispered in their ears.
Branding irons or cracked whips taught
them how pain sounds—a bellowed scream
from the fourth stomach. When her throat dried,
she settled for listening. What she
heard before having a body:
the rumbling of dirt, shuffling
of the many-headed rush,
a voice calling I’m sorry over
the cows’ shuffling weight.
Carly Joy Miller is a SoCal native through and through. She is assistant managing editor for the Los Angeles Review, a contributing editor for Poetry International, and a founding editor of Locked Horn Press. She is also the co-curator of the reading series, The Brewyard. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Midwestern Gothic, Four Chambers Press, Blast Furnace, Baseline Magazine, Web del Sol Review of Books, and the Poetry International Blog.