Two Haunted Passages Poems by Pete Miller

Haunted Passages: Pete Miller

Assessment: Disinterment

Or if not
disinterred exactly,
shaken loose by cravings
not quite killed with the rest of you?

All that cold
gravel of the gravesite
your brother paid for with a bottle and
a just
keep the shovel
shoved aside
like so much promised afterlife

as you rose one dizzy moment
then dropped again to crawl?

Did all your cousins’ cars
cooling in your father’s driveway,
that light of the big game
burning through the curtains,
parch your thirst
for return until
a scant echo back of
Nobody’s home
proved your knock

Nowhere left
but the infected camp,
those woods where
other shadows
also stalk moonlight across
trackless gray snow?

Or curling up half-warm
to something
unshaped but biting,
the back of that skull truck
that never quite thaws,
and never quite goes,
and never quite stops,

even when the cops
pull it over and tear down
again that cardboard sign
that doesn’t really block
the back window

Winter Solstice Homeless Memorial

This one last
ghost would surely hover
over the Day House’s

crushed cups,
butts, scuttled
scratch-offs, but

for the drag
of two muddy red hoodies,

his white ponytail
so ice-chunked it’s even beyond
the good-heart from the salon

who, Wednesdays, unpacks
immaculate clippers
and Bible tracts

but tonight cuts
yellow sheet cake
he thumbs down,

too hard, grinning to show
he’s grown toothless
as the year itself,

after it spits
that final, clinging sliver
to the ground,

when it’s all down
to the moon’s
wisp of silk

the failed
long shot option. Now,

a nun-
strummed guitar creaks
love’s cracked hymns.

One candle awakens
its sister,
the sun in Diaspora

scattering to die
deep in each eye
of the cherished meek.

So many names
never to be gathered
from the dark.

Good Heart doesn’t
drop the cake. It jumps.

Pete Miller lives in Omaha, Nebraska, where he works in homeless services and co-edits the online poetry journal A Dozen Nothing.


Check out HFR’s book catalog, publicity list, submission manager, and buy merch from our Spring store. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.