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By Jack Miller

"I'll meet you at the hotel," you said, so I’d gone on alone despite the storm,
the wrong kind of sugar for the all-night drive.  I gave up at 1 AM,
ice accreting on the windshield like rock candy on the string,
aggressive growth from the edges inward
despite the wipers and heater on high,
confectionery tunnel vision.

By daylight the car was glazed, dipped in molten sugar and set back down
to harden.  As always, I was tempted to lick that candy shell,
hungry for the rush; as always, instead I chipped it off
unsampled. It fell and shattered in vast sheets, whispering
admonishments in a language I never learned.
I could only listen for my name.

I passed so many cars that had spun out, wedged in dirty snowbanks
like glacé cherries in nougat.  Halfway through Jersey the fog rolled in:
candyfloss, but plain and white, as if its divine confectioner
had lost all interest.  It clumped up and stuck to the wet roads,
passive-aggressive in silent rebuke.
At least it was silent in English.

Then the bridge out of Jersey, fog so thick there was nothing to left or right
but Domino white from bright overcast sky to wherever the ground might have gone.
The horizon rotted clean away, inevitable decay yet startling nonetheless.
White behind, white ahead, a bridge across a limbo
of toothache.  But all you get on the other side
is a three-dollar toll and Delaware.

And then DC: sunlight, and 48 degrees, and valet parking.  The hotel
is a posh one, the room warm.  The night you arrive, we share the king bed,
the sheets smooth like wedding buttercream bleached
unnaturally white. In the morning we’ve mussed
only the very edges, the vast expanse between us
left untasted.

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About Jack Miller

Jack Miller lives and writes near Boston, where he sword-fights with his daughter and dates a rock star. Though he is uncertain what an MFA is and is pretty sure "academia" is a kind of tropical nut, his poetry has appeared in several print journals, including Sugar House Review, RHINO, and Conclave: A Journal of Character. Recently he won the second place Vallum Award for Poetry, nearly two decades after winning the second place Robert Boit Manuscript Prize. This is the first time he's ever taken first place for anything, so he may consequently spend the prize money on a tiara. If he does, photos will surface at jack-miller.org.

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