“If there’s anything I can do,” she said by Scott Michael Miller

If there’s anything I can do,” she said

(a response in sum-over-histories* notation)

Sure, he replied, do it all, and walked out the door
or maybe it wasn’t a door but the parted lips of the world
enveloping him, coaxing every hair on his body to rise
with its breath
or maybe not breath but a column of fire
streaking lugubrious revelation against the singing sand

or maybe the sand wasn’t singing but laughing, laughing,
but quietly and to itself, matters only sand understands,
too granulated for sky, too particular for water
or maybe
he had become the water and drained himself down into
the mercurial tides, reined by the moon, breaching then
or maybe not reforming but misting outward,
reef-shattered, bearing more salinity than tears, lacking
only the heart that was no more than pummeled stone

or maybe not stone but mirrored glass, silicon and silver,
shard and sliver, only cutting deep enough to prove itself
or maybe not wrong but then what? Something
less than perfect like a car or a coffee or a lake or a lover
or some grand unification theory, something to keep at bay
the long, cold days when the tides and fire both run low

or maybe they run
just run because they still believe
somewhere out there the world is parting its eager lips
just enough to insinuate an impudent, unyielding hope
that tomorrow won’t be the same as today
or maybe not
today but yesterday, the irreconcilable past when he said
Do it all and then walked out
or maybe not walked
but ran, ran upstairs laughing like the sand then, draining
back downstairs, curled up, with a book, on the couch.


                                                by Scott Miller



*Sum-over-histories, a principle developed by physicist Richard Feynman, codifies the quantum mechanical notion that a wave packet traverses all possible paths available to it simultaneously with some non-vanishing (though often very small) probability.  The observed state of such a wave packet therefore depends on a multitude of theoretical histories and their likelihoods.  The usefulness of this methodology in deciphering interpersonal relationships is inherently obvious and needs no further elucidation.



Scott Michael Miller, a parolee of suburban Philadelphia, holds a degree in Mathematics from MIT; in December 2008, he earned an M.F.A. from Antioch University Los Angeles.  His poems have appeared in Barefoot Muse and poeticdiversity, and he is a poetry editor for the Splinter Generation.  Scott lives in Reseda, CA with his wife of seven years.