Joe Milford: “After The Mermaids Are Gone”





After The Mermaids Are Gone

The tin foil over the bowl holding
The cooling bacon grease
The child laughing at the TV
You checking your hair for split ends
On the couch with pillows everywhere
The moon and sun in the sky
At the same time
The whole apartment is just “breakfast”
The juniper tree in the backyard
Hanging and waiting for the night deer
The ivy on the windowsill—the books
Of poetry everywhere—the way
You keep obsessively checking your hair
The laughter again and my old tattered
Chair—the bottles you placed on the shelf
To separate each type of coin—
A barbecue sauce bottle for dimes, glass
Milk bottles for quarters and nickels, etc.
Everything in its place, but me still
Disheveled and so in love with
A home, a fragile thing, a thing that
Falls like rose buds if you look
At the flower wrong or try to pick
Or cut it for her while she
Plucks invisible roses from her hair



About the Author: Joseph V. Milford has been a full-time teacher of English and Creative Writing for over two decades now (currently teaching at U of West GA and UC West Virginia). He published his first collection of poems, Cracked Altimeter, with BlazeVox Press in 2010 and has another collection of poems, Tattered Scrolls And Postulates, Vol. I, from Backlash Press (2017). He edits an online literary thread, called RASPUTIN ( which publishes poetry exclusively. He is also the former host of the Joe Milford Poetry Show where he hosted 100’s of interviews with American and Canadian poets.


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Blossoms in Arcadia” (2021)

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