A Spin on Isaac’s Wheel / Tunnel Vision / The Unmistakable Prelude


by Brett Miller

A Spin on Isaac’s Wheel

I was born wide-eyed
and clueless into a world
liberally dyed in patterns any
child could appreciate. With little
transition, a chromatic shift induced

a rapid decline into biodegradable Amway products
and butterscotch upholstery; Avon catalogs and avocado
appliances. Before the tropical neons that followed
could reach the gaudy pinnacle of their
reign, the chemically-enhanced red of the
maraschino cherries in my mother’s refrigerator lost
their savor, and I learned my first

real lesson in dying: that
color can be extinguished before
it has a chance to
fade, and sometimes the only
thing left is the leaving.


Tunnel Vision

My towers are crenellated for
aesthetic reasons, but the historical
context of this design is
not lost on me, so
I find myself pacing the

battlements at dusk, distractedly contemplating the likelihood
of a genuine siege. Such dogged trepidation
has a knack for constricting my perspective,
reducing the periphery to a disregarded shambles.
When this troublesome guest makes an appearance,
all others fade into the tapestries, and
the ruckus in the hall spontaneously quiets,

as if the entire structure
might hike up its skirts
and skitter away, leaving only
this room; this chair; this
heartbeat; this bead of sweat.


The Unmistakable Prelude

Nothing can transport me like
the rasp of a needle
lowered onto vinyl—the initial
hiss and subsequent pops as
it skips onto the first

track—as if all sounds I’ve ever
heard are culled from the lead-in
groove of a circa 1977 LP. In
this way, the notes of memory are
seldom sweet and clear, encumbered as they
are with crackle and a bit of
pre-echo. This is not a tragedy

but a mnemonic device; not
a reflection on the song
but on the habitually distracted
nature of the artist, perfectly
reflected by an imperfect technology.

Category: Poetry