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Joseph Mills


Because the road to the daycare goes east,

on spring mornings we drive towards the sun

along a corridor of flowering dogwoods,

and it may be the illuminated white petals,

the second coffee I had before we left,

or Pink doing a Steve Miller song, the one

from Happy Feet that made me realize

she has a great voice, but suddenly I’m close

to tears.  I have to lock my elbows to keep

the van on the road.  Then I start laughing

because of how difficult it would be to explain

I drove into a tree after being overwhelmed

by the enigmatic beauty of this world. 

From the backseat, my son asks, “Daddy,

What’s wrong?” and when I say, “Nothing,

I’m just happy,” he claps, “I’m happy too!”


From Love and Other Collisions (Press 53, 2010).
Used with the author's permission.


Joseph Mills is a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he holds the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. Joe’s published work includes six volumes of poetry, and four nonfiction books. He also writes a column called “String Figures” for ChangeSeven Magazine in which he details his thoughts about trying to learn piano in middle-age. Learn more about Joe at


Post New Comment:
This made me smile. I love moments like this!
Posted 04/08/2013 09:32 AM
Joseph, Gosh that was a great story, one I will remember and repeat to others. Now I've got to look up the Steve Miller/Pink song and have a listen. You've put a smile upon my face today. Thanks.
Posted 04/04/2013 07:49 AM
Thank you for this poem!
Posted 04/02/2013 08:00 AM
A wonderful happy start to the month; thank you ~ Judy
Posted 04/01/2013 04:05 PM
A moment of wholeness. Beautiful poem.
Posted 04/01/2013 12:40 PM
I love it! I'm happy too.
Posted 04/01/2013 12:24 PM
Posted 04/01/2013 11:55 AM
Glen Sorestad:
What a fine read to start the day -- and Poetry Month. Thanks for this, Joe.
Posted 04/01/2013 10:01 AM
Joe Sottile:
I am happy too, with this poem. BRAVO!
Posted 04/01/2013 09:38 AM
Wilda Morris:
What a touching and cheerful poem with which to begin the new day. I'm smiling!
Posted 04/01/2013 08:45 AM
Posted 04/01/2013 08:27 AM
Joe Ottinger:
Good poem. I'm quite a fan of Joe Mills. I live near the city where he grew up. Hope he will find a venue to come home and give a reading sometime soon.
Posted 04/01/2013 08:25 AM
Janet Leahy:
A moment to cherish and remember, wishing you many more happy days with your son.
Posted 04/01/2013 07:59 AM
you made my day with this poem!
Posted 04/01/2013 07:23 AM
What an innteresting distracted, reflective and happy drive!!! Be safe!
Posted 04/01/2013 06:31 AM
That's my kind of happy!
Posted 04/01/2013 05:22 AM
This is a smiling poem indeed! Can't stop smiling and yet it tugs at the heart strings!
Posted 04/01/2013 04:46 AM
What a beautiful poem. Moments like this are to be savored and honored with poetry. The only art that can do it justice. Thank you for sharing this.
Posted 04/01/2013 04:09 AM

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