Ian Patrick Miller

Andĕl on Praha

We leave at night, follow down the hill of houses, cross the Vltava, and on the other side of the bridge find a mass of angels, or what appear to be a mass of angels, fallen from a great height, and in agony are heaped, quills snapped, eyes blinded, long sinewy arms reaching up for whatever has tossed them down. They’re covered in lime, drippings, in the aging of nickel and stone. It’s snowing, a wet mass, and at the axis a man, an appellant or minor statesman, dressed in a penny coat, a vest, he’s bald, and his eyes burn furiously as if in prescience, as if privy, but to what? We do not like the appellant. Then we do. Or feel like we have to. The statue in the snow and the dark and we are silent. Later, following away from the river, up another hill of houses, we shout in tongues—in lilt of being, lightness of breath. And though we return, we never see it the same. The angels, yes, still fallen. Or maybe something else falling onto them. And they do what they can, spreading out the shattered wings of their parts (marrow, appendage) in what is always, either way, the futility of defense.


My wife calls from Kona. She is sick. And immediately I see her fever as a hived, winged thing, not unlike a heart if a heart could slap either side of itself in applause or thunder or rain.

The basin had been a volcano the way words had once been animals, and my daughter goes to sleep inside her lips, the mouth of secrets, where word of her life has not yet been made into word, but breath breathing bluely on the monitor beside the bed.

Her face ghosted, a white gauze. The lens of each eye folded, closed. And I wonder when she’ll wake, stare back blackly, orbs refracted across distance unmeasured, the beginning or end to a world nobody has lived long enough to know.


My friend writes to say he is leaving and his absence . . . Well, to be honest, we’re not all that close, but still. He’s leaving and I’m staying and that says as much about my life as anything could.

My father raised me to believe in the rapture. I know how that sounds. My wife thinks it’s crazy, too. I’m not saying we’ll be yanked into space, momentarily suspended as if dropped through the floors of a gallows, or wake to find our lovers missing in a ring of ash, children taken from their beds, the good people of, say, Ohio befuddled because so many were sure they were the ones.

But like today, after my flight was canceled by weather in Chicago, and I was left to wander emptily my house, the wife and daughter away for a wedding I can’t attend because my attendance is moneyed elsewhere, the day vulgarly blue and cold like a pearl. I sat upstairs, on the daybed, watched the playoffs, then went for a jog and saw almost no one except three or four dogs leashed to people.

It’s both difficult and too easy to say. I felt forlorn upon myself, dismayed by my continued presence as if I had failed to read right the cues of the sky, the instruments on the great metaphysical barometer.

I didn’t learn anything else today except that when people disappear in Ciudad Juárez they do not return, not even as one of the dead.

Ian Patrick Miller’s writing has appeared in Devil’s Lake, Ghost Town, Confrontation, War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. His work has been recognized with fellowships awarded by the Summer Literary Seminars, residences at the Banff Centre, and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Assistant Professor of English at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Ian’s life is severed between Doha and the Pacific Northwest.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 7)

Welcome to this, our seventh issue of Posit, which rings in the end of summer with a number of works concerned, more and less directly, with love and loss. Although the travails of the heart are foregrounded in the pieces by Carl Boon, Joan Cappello, B.K. Fischer, Amorak Huey, and Simon Perchik, we also perceive a fittingly elegiac aspect in this issue’s contributions by Andrew Collard, Ian Miller, Brad Rose and Katherine Soniat. So, it is with the greatest pleasure and admiration that we present:

Carl Boon’s evocative narratives, seeded with unsettling admissions and haunting insights, in which “One of us grew older, / the other grew silent . . ./ as the children collided / with monsters . . .” and “We see/the moth imposed upon,/balance indistinct from flight;”

Joan Capello’s potent prose miniatures, inviting us into the narrator’s emotional core even as they pull us up short with their reminders of “hypoallergenic bed clothes” and tellingly developed tics;

Andrew Collard’s enigmatic elegies, which challenge us to imagine a world in which “loneliness is its own falling” and “Hunters of the paper-tin drip on like ages, / impart the finest ripples as they come and unbecome;”

Joanna Penn Cooper’s gracefully grounded musings on parenting and other intersections of self and other, infused with an artist’s sensitivity to the magic of an everyday touched by the “daimon, not demon;”

B.K. Fischer’s pitch-perfect, penetrating prosody, honed into verses as wistful as they are sharp, positioning the staccato musicality of “your chorus,/your orchid-rhymes-with-orange oracle, your/stiletto Geppetto pancetta vendetta latte/hottie” beside puzzles such as “what’s the use/of violent kinds of delightfulness/if there’s no pleasure in not getting/tired of it?”

Amorak Huey’s haunting deployment of the image in language as brisk and ringing as “I am the cracked limb. The lightning scar. The smell of ash,” creating a complex amalgam of hope and resignation, nostalgia and realism: “After so many/trips to any empty mailbox, even the sky/would fall out of love with the sand;”

The resonance and reach of Stephanie King’s sharply compressed, cryptic formulations whose curt simplicity opens into such mysteries as “I’m quite sure the groan is interior” and “This is a mental aroma;”

The concrete yet magical flash fictions of Ian Patrick Miller, touching down in Prague, Chicago, and Hawaii with a deft touch that offers glimpses of a daughter who “goes to sleep inside her lips, the mouth of secrets,” a wife with a fever like “a hived, winged thing,” and a mass of angels “heaped, quills snapped, eyes blinded, long sinewy arms reaching up for whatever has tossed them down;”

Simon Perchik’s poignant and unvarnished probing of the realities of love and loss, in which “the moon behind the moon/works its huge tides” and the survivor’s struggle to come to terms with a beloved’s mortality is “bit by bit broken apart/with care and mornings;”

Brad Rose’s stark combination of irony, plain speaking, and elegiac lyricism, giving us poems as memorable and disturbing as the Quarry Lake victim’s “smooth, bronze skin, a membrane of beauty;”

Gary Sloboda’s eloquent elegies to time and its ravages, including the (deceased) poet Hannah Weiner, time itself: “erased in a fine gauze of leaves, a tide of quivering stains,” and of course mortality: “our watchfulness and the abattoir to which the watching leads” – for all ephemeral beauties, including “our bodies . . . tending their evanescence;”

And Katherine Soniat’s elegantly crafted new pieces, displaying her “quick-silver tongue . . . always wanting one more eternity,” taking on scripture, which “drools and rolls over” for “these twitchy recurring regressions through sex, greed/and bedlam” as well as the hubris of those of us “upright one[s] – who think ourselves first and foremost, especially while writing poetry.”

As ever, thank you for reading, and our special thanks to our contributors (past, present, and future) for entrusting their extraordinary work to Posit.

—Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


It is my pleasure to introduce the visual art of Posit 7.

Working in the genre of ‘official’ portraiture, Carl LeMieux presents us with images of our American presidential pantheon unlike any commissioned by the White House. They are funny, irreverent and revealing of the mythos surrounding each of them.

The objects Matt Mitros creates are a combination of scientific experiments gone sideways and a science fiction vision of the world. Surreal and beautiful, they seem to be born of their own universe.

Similarly, Chris Motley has taken the craft of knitting and elevated the process into the realm of contemporary sculpture. Reminiscent of the natural world, her biomorphic forms delight us with their surprising marriage of humble materials and sophisticated conceptualization.

Mark Perlman’s beautifully composed abstract paintings are deliciously lyrical. Color and line move in a syncopated way that juxtaposes fragments of pattern and form in richly layered surfaces.

Chris Schiavo’s unaltered iPhone photographs of the New York City subway have a fevered, dreamlike quality. Presenting bits of recognizable images poking through abstracted patterns of light and line, they capture the rhythm and energy of a metropolitan population on the move.


—Melissa Stern