Poem: Stephen S. Mills

Illo for Stephen S. Mills's poems.


“Then they went on to a program about holes in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Skin burns, birds go blind, icebergs melt. The world’s coming to an end.”

—Harper in Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Yesterday scientists announced the map of Antarctica
will have to be redrawn—a giant chunk of ice has fallen off—

a glacier now—no longer part of the continent. Adrift.
Like when Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore because they changed

the definition of the word. And today my doctor showed me
pictures of my insides which he took during my hernia surgery.

There, he pointed at the ribbons of red, is the hole. Now my body
has mesh inside it to prevent future problems. Yes, my body

has been redrawn—cut open—put back together again. Changed.
I must remember it differently: three small marks across my belly

that won’t scar, the doctor says, if I follow his directions,
which include no sunlight for a year. His Russian accent hangs

in the air: No, sunlight. I don’t tell him that I prefer fall and winter—
leaves and snow and layers that one must remove as they drift

through the city: in and out of doors. But it’s summer now.
The middle of it. And Antarctica is broken and my body

has three puncture wounds and my dog is sick and my husband
is away on a train with his father. He sends a link where I can find

his location: a dot moving across a map, which is comforting
until I remember maps can be redrawn.
Stephen S. Mills is the author of the Lambda Award–winning book He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012) and A History of the Unmarried (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014). He earned his MFA from Florida State University. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, PANK, The New York Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, Knockout, The Rumpus, and others. He is also the winner of the 2008 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Award and the 2014 Christopher Hewitt Award for Fiction. His third poetry collection, Not Everything Thrown Starts a Revolution, is forthcoming in 2018. He lives in New York City. Website: http://www.stephensmills.com/.

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