Alyson Miller


Some say that when a cat adopts that lock-eyed vacuum stare into the impossible space behind you, it can see the ghosts that crawl along ceilings and walls; that it is captured by the smoky entrails of invisible bodies. Others argue for the minutiae of insects; the patterns dappled into the eggshell surface of the paintwork; the micro-currents cutting across the floorboards. Online we discover an invasion of nerve-endings and circuitry that mistake tumors for prophecy. And then you, with that gaze as steady as buildings and dancers and my father’s hands, a look that promises to work its way inside us like a virus, or a dream. We tell stories of possession and cuckoos; discover the Sumerian ashipu, those sorcerers trained in luring out the sickness demons. But understanding the strange knowledge of children and cats, we burn herbs in every corner, laughing; and at night, as you sleep in a confusion of fur and skin, we take the knives from the kitchen, lock the door to your room.



Alyson Miller teaches literary studies and professional and creative writing at Deakin University, Australia. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in both national and international publications, alongside a work of literary criticism, Haunted by Words: Scandalous Texts, and a collection of prose poems, Dream Animals.