by Jai K Miller

I only ever remember placing flowers 
on an old headstone 
once in my life with my mother.
She always told me 
she wanted to be buried under a stone 
so people would have a place to come visit her. 
I told her people don’t stop by 
not to see the dead anymore.
Mausoleums are not tourist spots 
these days and ages,
and graves are not haunted attractions.
I told her I’d rather be burned alive 
than to be stuck in a box trying to get out 
if it just so happened I was never actually dead.
Ironically enough, her final resting place 
now belongs to all of us who were left to live.

by Jai K Miller

I sift through the boxes of your life left behind.
Years bubble-wrapped, and stored, 
in the corner of a basement unfamiliar to me,
miles away from the only place that ever felt like home.

You saved more Christmas decorations than photographs,
and a curio cabinet full of angels.
My school projects and every card I ever made you
have laid unseen for decades, until now.
Things I had forgotten,
like all the songs and poems I wrote for you
when I was a little girl,
kept safely tucked away for only my possession now.

Yearbooks, letters, baby toys, crystal, treasures,
from a time before I was even a thought in your head
packed away like all the questions I never got to ask, 
the stories you never told, 
the ones I never got to hear,
and now never will.

There was so much more to you than I ever got to know, 
and now I’m running out of boxes to go through. 
I keep digging just to feel close to you 
but I’m almost to the end, 
and you are still not here.

You are packed away somewhere in a box,
one I cannot find, gone forever.

Jai K Miller is an author, poet and traveler who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a lifetime creative whose work has appeared in Pennsylvania English, Penman Review, Where the Mind Dwells, Literary Yard, Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets 2017, The Evening Street Press, America’s Emerging Poets 2018: Southeast Region, Route 7, Birmingham Arts Journal, Backchannels Journal, Hive Avenue Literary Journal, and was also accepted for publication in the Sandy River Review. Her first poetry collection Just a Fly on the Wall Inside My Mind was released in January of 2019, and her second collection Hardly a Poet was recently released in May of 2020.  When she’s not writing, she is out hunting waterfalls. It’s an actual sport, not a metaphor.