Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Ronda Miller’

Coats and Friends

RondaMillerI take my coat to you for a remake.  It
isn’t mine or my mother’s.

She left me her wedding dress of
dark gray, a 1940’s Art Deco mirror,
rectangular shaped with gold swirls on
all four sides, so I can look into my
past/future/watch for her features in
my face.

I say, “I’m thinking southwestern style with
horses/silhouettes of birch trees; maybe a sunset.”

You say, “If I were to ask you to write a
poem for my wedding, I wouldn’t tell
you what to write.
I understand it is trust
you require from me; silence.

I respond, “I wouldn’t write a poem about
death for your wedding. I would ask you questions.”

I put on the white, wool coat that comes
down to my shins.  It’s as heavy as a
blanket.  I think how lovely it is.  Maybe I
should leave it alone.  It isn’t my mother’s coat,
but it is someone’s mother’s coat.  I love it
even though I never wear it.

You say, “Let’s shorten it to knee length, add
a couple of buttons here, get rid of the sash.”

I picture the new look, think how
modern/light it will feel.
You say, “I’m thinking Art Deco.”
I say, “I trust you,” leave.

– Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. She lives in Lawrence where she is close to her son and daughter. She is Poetry Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club, and is a Life Coach specializing in those who have lost someone to homicide.

– April’s Guest Editor, Roy Beckemeyer, edits scientific journals and writes poetry and essays. His poems have most recently been accepted by or appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Straylight, The North Dakota Quarterly, Nebo, Mikrokosmos, Coal City Review, and The Lyric.  He lives in Wichita, Kansas and has degrees from St. Louis University, Wichita State University, and The University of Kansas.

He notes: “In the poem series I have chosen for April, I have  focused on works that define our sense of Time and Place by the people we know, the people we interact with, the people we live with. “

Winter Witch by Ronda Miller

Winter Witch’s furrowed mud brow relaxes lateRondaMiller

month. Her charcoal hair streams for miles into sluggish

Ogallala Aquifer where she lies under earth’s frozen crust.


Thighs, hardened thick as tree trunks, slide open.

Juices bubble within her womb.


Hope makes its way in rivulets to hair like follicles.

Plant roots, a tightly gathered loop lassoed by gnarled

fingers, loosen in her grasp. Dirt caked nails

curl black against forearm.


Catfish, frozen on creek bottoms, belch;

a bubble of life surface bound.

All quiet as sun rotates, brings direct gaze to deep

recesses, calls all nature components in silent cadence.


Wind whipped crevices of Arikaree Breaks

whistle. Winter Witch moans; rolls over.


February desolation

lustrating rains of April

neither here nor there…..


MAR…deface, disfigure, deform

followed by breathless CH………

~ Ronda Miller

Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and a daughter. She is Poetry Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club, and is a Life Coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets.

March’s Guest Editor, Ronda Miller, is Poetry Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club and their District 2 President. Her goal in both positions is to encourage people from all backgrounds and ages to appreciate and write poetry. As a Life Coach who specializes in working with those who have lost someone to homicide, she appreciates the multitude of voices and the healing power of the written and spoken word. Her quote, ‘Poetry is our most natural connection among one another’ best exemplifies her belief in poetry. Her words can be found in Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices, Going Home: Poems from My Life and online in The Shine Journal – The Light Left Behind, Zingara Poet, Kansas Time + Space, and hard copy publications such as The Lawrence Journal World. She authored documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express and created poetic forms Loku and Ukol.


Wherever Wind by Ronda Miller

Why fear when I know which way the wind blows.photo


Any doubt and I walk from this flat land to stand

under the oldest cottonwood tree, high on the hill, to

feel spit dry upon one finger held skyward.


Which direction will my ashes carry once my remains no longer matter?


Will they shift and swarm like locust weathered during the depression?


Or, if the season is ripe, will they wash through dry creek beds like

the ones survived in the 50s?


Perhaps ashes sift, fine as silt, upon prairie loess and flowering meadows

where bee and bird alike carry them in all directions.


Or, maybe one blustery day, ashes mix with flakes so large they cover

black earth within seconds, layering upon frozen ground.


Time no longer a factor.


Fear no longer a presence.


Wherever wind takes me, I remain in Kansas.

~ Ronda Miller

Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms.  She lives in Lawrence nearby a son and daughter, is Poetry Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club, is a Life Coach who loves reading/writing.

15. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Ronda Miller

Between you, me, the universe…I fear I shall go mad!
Still, stars spin their course….I spin mine.
I’m the stone eyed cold girl cursing her dog for dying.
No bullet sounds, artery to bone to brain to farmer’s wife, under the harvest moon.
The crash of cymbals as crescendos on my skin…..
Shooting stars surround until I vibrate from their tone.
No truths to behold; just a farmer mourning ashes turned to grain to burnt toast.
Seed carried, blood stained prairie dust settles, waits to create anew.
Stitch a wing from cardinal to owl to make the switch….disjointed yet alive..
An open wound…..breathe it back to life.

— Ronda Miller

106. Creek Play

If you look closely,

small, freckled limbs,

not yet diagnosed with MS,

make their way boldly

up a dusty hill once

mountainous in size.

A creek, both deep and dry,

drew us in season after season

as our bodies changed

and dreams grew larger

than the skies.

Hiding, playing

cowboys and Indians,

each passing car

a threat from near and far.

Years later, shared dates and

hopes for future plans

left less time or attention

to barren, rugged beauty

of the land.

To climb those hills,

fill my nose with the dusty smell

of Kansas sneezing out

the ability to be young again.

We searched for fossils,

dinosaur teeth and arrowheads,

found rattlesnakes and cow skulls.

I became a mother and a writer.

You manufactured crack –

just think about that.

If we went back and did it again,

would the sunset still inspire,

would our desire to escape

have changed?

Would my body, spasming in pain,

be made whole again?

Would you still be imprisoned,

feeling the brutal Kansas winter

from within a castle prison

on the prairie?

— Ronda Miller

Ronda Miller moved to Lawrence from NW Kansas where she attained degrees in Creative Writing, University of Kansas. A certified Life Coach, graduate of World Company Citizen Journalism Academy, author of The 15Oth Pony Express Re-ride, writes for The Examiner, created poetic form ‘Loku’, mother of one daughter and son.

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