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“Job’s Children” and “Gender Unicorn”

by William Miller

“Job’s Children”

Below that blue-black sky,

a goat-hair tent collapsed

by a sudden desert storm,

they died together.

A faith test under Satan’s

wings, planned to

seem like an accident,

the storm began in God’s eye.

They dreamed, like all children

dream, they’d grow old,

waists thickened by milk

and wild honey.

Blessed by two fathers,

they set the table for a banquet,

olives and date wine,

not to show one good man

would ever curse his maker.

In Sheol, their shadows

flicker on the cave wall,

prove the Lord’s good will.

“Gender Unicorn”

School was once a straight ruler,

gender as clear and simple

as a math problem written

neatly on the blackboard.

No more. These students

must take a test more bewildering

than any trial in the hall

or on the playground,

just trying to fit in, survive

until lunch. He smiles beneath

his rainbow horn, gently prods

them to fill in blanks their parents

never dreamed of in starched

collars, pleated skirts. He smiles

sweetly and certain, foreleg

lifted as he marches

in the new world of endless

mutations. Neither boys

nor girls, they lay weary heads

on first-day desks, just kids.

William Miller’s eighth collection of poetry, The Crow Flew Between Us, was published by Aldrich books in 2019.  His poems have appeared in The Penn Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner and West Branch.  He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.


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