Magical Realist Cafe

Chichen Itza

we slipped through a chain-link fence

as the bus sped off up a tunnel of night

one floodlight spliced the dark

a dog barked sharp

there was no going back

we crossed into woods beyond


startled awake, or was it a dream

tap tapping rain, tropical sweat

hunted prey on the ground

the dog, peering down

the dog,

the dog.

no questions asked

leading us astray

over damp silent grass

on invisible string we followed the dog

to a looming ladder of stone

into a void of sky

at the top the dog disappeared

we were held captive



spreadeagled before dawn

until dark drained away like blood dried cold

a symphonic mist rose

to purify the day


hours later, concealed in the trees

we woke again

emerging as tourists,

demigods in disguise


Diana Milia, 2023

Vermut Ataman/Passage du Commerce

bitter honey on the rocks

a fire in my place

Balthus pulls back the curtain

he was fourteen and i was ten

(if only i could stay this age forever)

adrift, on a sea of ice in suburbia

what the hell, Siberia

slipping into virtual passages

virginal commerce, shrouded side doors

a stage, in development

a drama, a dream, perhaps

a Freudian interpretation,

child’s play, a simulacrum, or a (mere)


Pattern Recognition

Scratched by sunset claws

her face dissolves in winter clay

Scales drop desiccated lashes

Cliffs threadbare, roots exposed to sky

Sun-withered, kelp drooping on old logs

No child cartwheels across that expanse

Different gulls lean against the wind

On the same trajectory

where my mother’s ashes swept away

I slowly fade in her wake


Diana Milia, 2022


Earl Grey’s Jewels

Fetish languages

Tangled in lines of leaden blue

Secretly suspended in ice cube rooms

Enthralled in lures and holding firm

What do you call it, say its name

Write it in skin

Let it sink in

Upside down falling inside

If I let go, maybe

I can touch the bottom with my toes


Diana Milia, 2021



Subdued Bliss

Writhing mass in the grass

Sinister sirens

Silvery silken threads coiled in a lie

It wasn’t what you wanted to say, but

it can wait

Lie in wait

Unwinding tension

Passion flowers, a visiting bumblebee

Soft sensation spreads and

It doesn’t hurt any more

to say yes, and no more


Diana Milia, 2020





Fire Water

On a beaten path between high rocks
Narrow views and dry wells
The air holds its breath and the sun turns red
A single songbird dies in flight
Still I go on into parched canyons
Where fire was first housed
I am tall and free
I am sharp as an arrow
I am stealthy as the jaguar
I dance to the drumbeat of a summer night
I am a waterfall tumbling stones
into a river that wanders through valleys,
picks up sticks and rushes to sea
I am a child on the beach looking back at me

– Diana Milia, 2021


The Drought Years

Can dust get more dry?

How deep may the sun burn?

What will I say when we finally meet beyond the desert?

Words turn to sand in my throat

Unwatered seeds dormant on desiccated leaves

A dim picture on the screen, swimmers

in an Olympic pool, another mirage

Shimmering waves, and 

shrinking trees nevertheless signal a presence

An old pantheon, survivors in an oasis

A yet untapped source

Stones in the River

The new world has become the old world

If I were a wealthy divorcee

or a wealthy widow

I would live in Lake Oswego

with a view of Mt. Hood from the window

and a piano by the window

A piano I wouldn’t play

No, I would walk down to the river

I would kneel and ruffle every dog’s fur, but

Instead of joining the legion of elegant women

Walking elegant dogs

I would be an elegant woman with a backpack

and a book of poems

Joining the river