Skip to content

Miles Waggener – Ⅲ

Sun Corridor 






Soot falls onto the foothills,

onto the nimbus of new cities in the haze,

their worn-toothed horizon


of grabens and rooftops beleaguered with

little past, and their present

little more than


a thief’s hour, which has caught

me dozing by the unblemished murk

of the reservoir,


where stepping from shadows

is my dead father

muttering into a jacklight’s wick


that will not light,

his shirt and furrowed brow

a brambly thatch that waters


assembled seasons ago, his body

giving way as

country music fades to talk radio


from his pickup

my pickup

parked by the water’s edge.


The way here, the once uncrowned

and headlit turns

taken late at night through


foothills, is a wide and straight

grid of outskirts

that drops the eye down what’s left of


a river against the dam.

My hands pull the weighted line

and gizzard bait from


the surface, and the radio’s

panel of experts tells me what the next offensive

means.  The tugging


fish, barbed and

jaundiced channel cat, has no use

for daylight, as with


rumor or an all but

opaque stone’s glow, a dream of

dwindling afternoon and heat


from the bottom

of deep water.


When will its dragon face surfacing

at the end of the line not

surprise me?  The groggy dead


are not lifting heavy lids to join us,

and the future is an easier

page to read, the recto


beyond the spine, the far bank exposed

against the current, and beyond that

the third bank, the third


page of the open

ledger, which for once

is clear—my finger pressing


it flat— the water, whose

shore the page becomes

above dry weeds, just out of


a lost season’s reach.

Lambent and stubborn before

dusk’s metal finally lathes and draws


the desert together,

flattened into what draws me

into the one dimension


proffered, the sun sets

and my eyes cannot adjust and

shut until awoken


to follow a voice into a tuft

of weedy stalks—keep your eye on that hollow 

tree at the far bank—


where now are model homes,

whose timed florescence

shines on kitchen counters, living


rooms’ easy chairs on cue,

and through the window, the second ghost

tonight is me, climbing the stairs


to a door where my mother, too

weak to walk, must be carried.

Powerlines scaffold the floodlit ether


in every picture window framing us.

She is lighter than I dreamed, than air, than

anything I have ever held in


my arms, and it’s hard not to

keep lifting her and not rise together

through no one’s


furnished rooms

above the unlivable rises

and look down upon the glistening


holes, the artificial lakes,

their shallows’

burnished surfaces so still


even water is waiting for the word.

Umbra of no one listening,

light of no one in the kitchen.


You will never die,

model homes tell us, halo,

unguent, promise, balm,


supernal-supernatant, no

one ever dies—

festooned by flags:  WELCOME


HOME—follow me boy

there’s something you need 

to see.


Waterline low in late summer,

the broadcast of experts grows

convincing in the glow,


their lips pressed against our ears,

at eleven years old,

at fifty, their worries are


well-founded, their warnings

bid the eye to wander into cat-claw

acacia, into the reeds,


into the pungent corner spilling dusk

and the flutter of insects,

and who can remember which


conflict they speak of, but

the war is closer, the night air

pressed upon our eyes, the swelling


borders, the experts worry.

Our boarders.


Tall enough to make us wonder what

might live inside their clasping

bases, horned stalks and


chambers, the plexus of

camphorweed pushes through

clay flats along the shores


of the reservoir, a bowl for

what was planned, then built, filled

then spent—boy, shine it there—


to be this torn throat,

nightfall—stop shaking, see

its eyes there in the reeds?


No?  Look hard it’s



Seed-heads, barbed,

held windless by sharp in-

folding, as optic cups


form farthest from light

in the earliest stages of the eye,

ovarian, never dormant to


what takes its time stirring, to

false resemblances we can no longer

court—there, I see it


and for which we are

forever marked—hold it there

tumult triggered into breath,


startled lift, the no-matter-

how-much anticipated owl

breaking through stalks, whose


wings draw out, fledgling, umbra

of no one, light of

no one, whose wing draws us in.