by Dan Veach
Small, unassuming, dusty gold,
their wings swept back like jets,
we called them “millers”
years before I heard
of human mills and millers.
Little skippers built for speed,
you had to be lucky and lightening quick
to catch one. When released,
they left a fairy powder
on our fingers, flecks of gold
more finely divided than dust.
I knew what it meant to catch a fleeting thing
before they ever taught me how to grind
the flour of the word. Before I ever heard
of Chaucer’s miller, windmills,
Don Quixote’s reckless charge—
before I ever threw myself, headlong
against the whirling beauty of the world.
-from Cortland Review, August 2009