I / Self / Woman in Berlin
I saw two doves today. They became tricks
in the wind: white like a gum
eraser. I saw a tree enclosed in a wrought-iron
fence. What if it fattens, the trunk,
pressing against the metal? It’s ashy branches
bunch up at the sky in shivering bouquets
of green and shimmer as the city wakens
like water shoving through the wreck
of a ship: the pewter cups and spoons,
the bones of the captain at the hull.
At the top, all is calm. From above,
what do you see, birds? I think I am
you, some mornings while I stand,
back to bricks like now, and smoke
for seven minutes and watch the dial
shifting under the glass like one
regiment seen from above, in the mountains.
Chorus Played on a Victrola by the Ethnographer: Arousal
I try to learn magical properties
to open the gates “nice” “friendly”
like an actress who portrays elegant
How shall I become beautiful in a suit
from the former
inchoate human mass
Ethnographer’s Notes: The Delicate Language of Signs
But the real power of light is presence.
It alienates you from the flesh, casts you
the setting sun, prairie landscapes,
and cowboy songs might never manage.
The world is not as it is but as it appears—
the splendid view of the city by night star-spangled
like denial. In the window of one store,
mannequin dolls pose
in petalled clothes among the orchids.
Do not lean out
someone wrote across the glass.
Tyler Mills is the author of two books of poems, Hawk Parable (winner of the 2017 Akron Poetry Prize) and Tongue Lyre (winner of the 2011 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and Poetry, and her essays have appeared in AGNI, Copper Nickel, and The Rumpus. The recipient of residencies from Yaddo, Ragdale, and the Vermont Studio Center, and scholarships/fellowships from Bread Loaf and Sewanee, the Chicago native is an assistant professor at New Mexico Highlands University, editor-in-chief of The Account, and a resident of Santa Fe, NM.