The Habit of Reading

Devon Miller-Duggan

Encountering the word “incline” when I was 9
in the instructions for making a wheeled toy work,
I drew a line—in ink—on a piece of paper.
Toy didn’t work. Snow and rice. It needed wood, pavement, hill, prop.

My grandson’s curious about the K in “knight” and “know.”
He’s 5 and also wants to know why 2 is 2,
and whether children can get sick or hurt enough to die.
Milk and spookies. Nuts and folds.

All through the first days after the blizzard,
while The Book of Outside remains blue-white,
shadows of branches change the story they write across white pages
while the planet moves through the day. And I wonder
who writes this story?


Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall in 2008 and a chapbook, Neither Prayer, Nor Bird in 2013 and Alphabet Year, 2017.