Poems

MAGGIE MILLNER Gesture Theory

At the chicken farm, a man lugs
a duffel down the drive, sketching
an arc of blood across the stones—

another prodigy of what a French
philosopher called langage d’action,
or confession without speech. The game

we played in college was called “Dead
Man,” where one player made her
body limp and heavy while another

player dragged her to a chair, a game
more difficult the smaller your own
body was, the greater the dead heft

you had to lift. Speaking of signs,
the man is hoisting now the weeping
bag into a van. Two feathers flitter out

in cursive loops. Speaking of victory,
my friend Nicky won Dead Man every
time. Whether it had to do with being

tall or being of us all the nearest death
I cannot say. Or if I can, at least
not here, in syllables, this way.

 


 

Maggie Millner‘s recent poems appear or are forthcoming in The New YorkerGulf CoastThe Literary Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches in the Writing Program at Rutgers University.