Milla Van Der Have


It’s dark when she wakes

darker than she has gone before.

It’s not a blanket or a cage

but rather the stark dissent

of all that’s missing…
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Milla van der Have






It’s dark when she wakes
darker than she has gone before.
It’s not a blanket or a cage
but rather the stark dissent
                                   of all that’s missing

                                   her own reflection
                                   a sense of place in the world.

Her feet hurt
(blisters have formed, numerous
as stars, to guide the way)
and somehow she keeps

                 stumbling into roots,
                 nagging things that deny her motion
                 when headway has been all she needed.



She tries to think of what her mother would say,
comes up empty, a vessel no longer able to contain
itself and whatever is inside spills

                 relentlessly, like a river run aground.

And yet her hands move, there’s breath and
so there must be forgiveness. If she can only speak it.

Around her a new wind gathers strength, she doubts
if she can keep from scrambling. She leans ahead

into the void.



There are things we don’t even tell ourselves
like how another’s face is etched in hers
and she can no longer read between the lines.

Some things are meant to be forsaken
on the salt plains of the heart.

She remembers dress up,
having to be pretty like a doll and still,
no living thing.

A small furry creature is hidden in each of us,
she thinks, desperate to break out.



A girl is scarce.
                 She might lose her way.

                 There are no signs. There is nowhere
                 to head. This must be it.

                 Stasis. Like a pond overflown
                 with duckweed, until finally the spirit

is quelled.

                 A girl is migratory.
                                Falling over life
                                               as one trips over feet.



She has grown out of youth. Over time
she will lay her body down, vie for
an other. She watches the darkness

change into an old stalemate.

                 It will grow softer. It will say
                 words of comfort and wellbeing.
                 Nothing of it will be meant and she

will rise up, alone again and in unbroken

                                to receive the blessing
                                of different lips.



Snow has started. A cold drift
to separate what will be
                 from what has played out before.

We all know the hand that comes
bearing gifts. She has learned

                 sometimes it’s better to weather the storm.

She has taken shelter, has become a tiny spectre,
brazed against false offerings. Maybe

there are better ways to make yourself
invisible but she has always been

                                 partial to the minute.

She watches the flakes, feels them fall and melt.



There’s a dark heart of winter and she’s about
to scale the depths of it. Whatever we roam
is of our own making. The world

reflects back at her, seeing with the self-
same eyes. Why does everything look smaller
once you have felt the rifts? She eases

carefully out of her confinement, into
her own again, where the heavens spin

and turn, wheeling out of bounds and no

                                 kiss can acquiesce that truth within.

By Milla van der Have

Milla van der Have wrote her first poem at 16, during a physics class. She has been writing ever since. One of her short stories won a New Millennium Fiction Award. In 2015 she published Ghosts of Old Virginny, a chapbook of poems about Virginia City. Milla lives and works in Utrecht, The Netherlands.