Nobody is Ever Missing

Maybe my life began the day
I found old carboys full of mouse bones

in the barn. Maybe not, though: it was winter
and the pasture under snow

was hard to cross. Before that year 
I thought maybe my body was a plant 

that fruits too late, frosts over 
and rots. The eggs that hens forget

erupt in sulfur plumes
when thrown against the wall

or someone’s dress. My breasts 
grew in quick as tumors,

oblate as detonating eggshells
and as small. The mice crawled in

to overwinter and their bloated
bodies couldn’t make the bottleneck.

Some gave birth inside to tiny
rice-boned babies. My first

bra had picot trim, a plastic
clasp like teeth. A man named Mr. Fist

first took it off me in the backseat 
of his car. He told me with his lips

“Those mice didn’t just die inside
those bottles, silly girl. Their families 

put them there postmortem, 
same way we use graves. Bodies 

like to have a body
put inside."


Maggie Millner lives in California. Her poetry and criticism appears in 32 Poems, Zyzzyva, Phoebe, Pank, and elsewhere.