Both are True

By Matthew Miller

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

The maple is a green torch this morning, cardinal washing his beak in my coffee. Headphones dangling, my son holds my hand down Apple Ridge. Rows of dead nettle tremble in ditches and in the bean field, between the gleanings left for groundhogs.


Buffalo flies pinch his hairline, drawing dots of blood. The rolled field ahead is empty, the wind off it tastes like a dog’s paws, scuttling a picture window. The purple nettle actually aren’t trembling, they’re shaking their heads. Just for us to watch.


There are no playoffs nor tennis matches, no ball kids chasing shanks on the clay courts of Madrid, passing out Perrier. No highlights except us, kicking grass in cul-de-sacs.


It’s basically the flu, says the quaint fist of fear. Or it’s a thick, oily topsoil, a sludge to suffocate new roots. In between, we are truth. All the trees scratch their chins.


They say, Matt, tomorrow it might rain, or not. C’est la vie. Those deafening buds. Pinching at the skyline, closer than they were last year.

Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry - all hoping to create a home. He pretends his classroom is a living room, filling it with as many garage-sale chairs as he can afford. He lives beside a dilapidating apple orchard in Indiana, trying to shape the dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. His poetry has been published in Flying Island, Your Daily Poem, and Mothers Always Write.


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