Hailing from Oakland, CA, Daniel B. Summerhill is an assistant professor of poetry/social action and composition studies at California State University Monterey Bay. He is the author of Divine, Devine, Devine (forthcoming), a semifinalist for the Charles B. Wheeler poetry prize. Summerhill holds an MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College (Solstice). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Button, Blavity, Califragile, The Lilly Review, The Hellebore and elsewhere. 

I am teaching Miles how to speak—

Daniel Summerhill



How to make his voice pulp,


in order

to confidently say,

I am both alive and well

and speaking




God gave me a mouth to talk




Ima use it.


I am teaching Miles how to speak—


How to unfold his tongue

In order to unlearn his silence—








Breath each vowel as if it were malignant

Clawing its way out of the mouth




Finding new ways to harmonize

his words


I am teaching Miles how to speak—


And still,


Miles find ways

to breathe without making a sound

or spilling his breath everywhere.

All of The Others Seek Refuge Here.

Daniel Summerhill



All of the others

seek refuge


here. In this pit of a body

some sort of kinship


or Calvary. Imagine this

failed vessel


attempting to coral

the waves


Imagine these bones

a catalyst


for everything but



How they unfurl across

            the Atlantic


Time and time again.

            Staying afloat.

How to Die After They’ve Already Buried You

Daniel Summerhill



Place your brown body in the small black box,

            make an effort to do so quietly,


no riots or rage tonight.

            Learn the muscle memory of smiling


then swallow the temptation. Only mugs

and shots allowed here. You can have


both for free. Steal— a canned soda

and a pack of gum when you’re 14.


Avoid eye contact, it may keep you alive

avoid eye contact, avoid eye contact.


Close your eyes. Close your eyes. Now—