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I’ve Tried Everything I Know, a poem by Matthew Miller


I’ve Tried Everything I Know

Grieving still empties me, shakes me 

like dust from a kerchief. By your grave, 

I’ve tried to see the sun-glints of asphalt 

as sequins that fell from the dress 

you’re dancing in. My child, I’ve tried

to prick stars in this lacquered abyss, but 

it’s so thick that I cannot rip 

the dark sphere. Kneeling at your stone, I’ve tried 

to sweep away the brown leaves without weeping, 

but I’m a spectacle of need. I’ve tried 

to stand with chin to the wind, but 

everything’s still spinning. I’ve tried 

to be sure this heart-churning will birth 

black diamonds in me. I tried 

to believe they’re unbreakable, but I know 

they’re also the most impure.

Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry—all hoping to create home. He and his wife live beside a dilapidating orchard in Indiana, where he tries to shape dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. His poetry has been featured in River Mouth Review, Whale Road Review, Club Plum Journal and Ekstasis Magazine.