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.


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:


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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