Mn poetry: ‘Y’ by Leslie Adrienne Miller

Leslie Adrienne Miller is the author of six collections of poetry; her most recent release is titled simply “Y.” A Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Miller explores motherhood and child development, informed by both science and linguistics.

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Miller reads Thursday night at SubText in St. Paul, along with fellow poets Roseann Lloyd and Kate Lynn Hibbard. Here’s the title poem from Miller’s latest collection:

Y

Perhaps it’s a thread that needs to be pulled,

a single stitch caught in the crux.

Whole word in French and Spanish,

vertical axis of Cartesian three

loaning its fragile branch to a boy

in theory. On y va. Let’s go There.

What happens to unrepaired sequences

in subsequent generations? Semivowel,

blown umbrella, arrow reversed in wind,

frizzy blot of genetic code directing the symphony

of a trillion sperm, a single Y . . . might fold over,

line up these similar patches of genetic sequence,

and then accidentally delete everything

that lies in between. Je est un autre.

If the face is a christening in flesh,

the boy of him is its opposite,

raising the tent of bones in which

he will harbor all the starry anomalies

that a knowledge of God cannot undo.

- “Y” by Leslie Adrienne Miller, from her collection of the same name, published by Graywolf Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.

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