The Hernia

a girl came to my house
but I had a hernia
I showed her how to make me calm
the buttons on my head to press
little knobs below my hairline
she opened the window
but I had a hernia so couldn’t
get my breathing right
we stayed up all night touching
the knobs on each other’s heads
my head was incisional
her head was a museum about hair
I had to learn to hate what was outside her
in order to get to the middle

The Wall-Sized Fish

is not wall sized but lives on my entire wall
and drinks the thirst out of me with a big
green sucker straw. Likes to call me names,
not because I deserve it but because it knows
I need it to. The wall sized fish can teach me
how to stop. Every day I get stapled to the
wall and every day I find a new way down. A
lot of ways down off the wall, so sometimes I
finish climbing late in the morning. A lot of
ways to stay up there too. Sometimes it takes
me till eight thirty PM. Sometimes the staples
in me get ugly or boring. I wish I could have
another friend but I have this friend instead.
But this morning I went to the ribbon store
trying to locate a new kind of ribbon. But at
the ribbon store you told me I looked nice
that way. I said thank you. I said thank you. I
drank another beer. It was late. They were
turning on the lights at the bar. The way it
looked was like the bartender had opened a
tap beneath the bar and the light had come
pouring forth like foam into the air. I turned
to you. All one hundred of me. Everything
works better in the dark. All one hundred of
me at sharp, inhospitable angles, the air
around me rapturous and clean. The fish is
shifting on the wall, you said. When you said

it, I said to you stop.

Nora Claire Miller received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Nora’s work has appeared in APARTMENTDMQ Review, H.O.W. JournalDecomP, and elsewhere.