by Daniel Miess

A Voice in the Wilderness

This silence in me is vast; not
an abyss; empty yet not empty.

A river dispenses through the ravine,
carving my name in the rock.

On a winding, twisted juniper a raven
waits. He seems puzzled.

There are echoing questions against
the stone. My father’s absence only leaves

me wondering how I can bridge the void
between he and I. He still speaks,

his mouth a beak supported
by broad, feathered wings.

He flies in and out of my memories.
His faith was constant, mine wavers

between knowing and unknowing
I am an aspen tree bending in the wind.

There are apples forming in the high
desert. I am tempted by truth.

Reality is in the middle, it is
in the layers. It is formed

by time. Carved by chaos
for better, not for worse, I

become smooth. I trace my fingers
in memory — these days are dry,

parched earth crunches underfoot.
I grow like cactus in the dust,

I absorb love into this mortality.
Memories sustain me when days

are dark – days turn to ice.
I trace my fingers in the

grooves, touching his hands when
lips are dry. His love lives

in my veins. My mind still hears
his voice; clouds send cotton

to the straw-covered oceans.
The prophet preaches.

I breathe knowing that this isn’t
the end, it’s the beginning.

Self Portrait of a Bird of Paradise Flower

My flames never smolder
They are fingers    both indigo
and orange    I dream
of having wings    Monarch
butterflies are poised for flight
The breeze lifts my petals
I do not soar    I wither in time as all
green things must do
The beak and the crest    sit on a
stalk    the flushed mouth does not
speak    I reflect    I am silent  

The Importance of Seemingly Insignificant Parts

A crumb of being rests in a field of polished pearls.
Love’s agile hands weave black threads across my eyes.
White Luna moths waltz, slowly making love to darkness.
My eyes open cushioned by grass, up beyond time – I see
myself – one pinpoint of light.  One word forms from many.

All dance to the music of winged things playing flutes. Destiny
is written in letters on the foam of the ocean. Being is made
of small significant grains of sand – one without the other would
not form the prophecy written in the lines on our hands.  Our
dreams fuel the message of light – the heart beating in the night.

Life is one expansive, wonderful mystery that we find
together as treasure hunters buried far away in the depths
of our consciousness.  Each heart has its own masterpiece to
be created in the Sistine Chapels of our souls.  The miracle is
to create form out of the nothingness of unfulfilled dreams.

When a child does not allow the demons of mechanization
to choke his truth, he believes.  Faith is more than creeds
rather it is made from liberating manifestos that awake the
potential of hope in a human being.  Faith is a winged thing,
its feathers made of love, soaring in and out of imagination.

Our hopes are the filaments of the spider web of our shared
humanity.  The dance of each star is written in silk – formed
by the Divine as she weaves through our sleep.  We become
stars the moment we are brave to shine.  Many are the candles.
Night is not a monster, for even in the dark the path is revealed.         

About the Author:

Daniel Miess

Daniel Miess is an MFA Creative Writing / MA in English student at Chapman University. He has work published by the Henniker Review, the New Englander, Eat Sleep Write and will have work included in the Mud Chronicles, an anthology of New England poetry. He currently lives in Orange, California and has lived in New Jersey, Maine, and New Hampshire, each place influencing his writing.