Now my hands buried 
in my hair, resting on piano keys       
in the back of my head.
This is the music I am playing
through my mind: a dark room singing    
a song that will not have children. 


Lying on the floor tonight, snowflakes 
cut from paper laid over my eyes, a hand
carved from wood laid over my mouth. 
If the truth is the thing you must not say,
I will speak for the vase now
as it falls: it is better never
to be at all.                                                              

A hand on the back of my head
made of glass, my love, my eyes,
filled with wire, life. Once
I watched a bird’s shadow cross a field 
in the wind: a black hat that could not stop 
tumbling. My eyes are sore
from seeing, my lips from speaking.


How a ribbon curls when pulled 
across a scissor’s blade, I am practicing 
transformation, pain. How the dark hair
of imagination, uncut, grows down
to the floor. What is left 
but to make a world, a war?                                

Or a landscape in which to stay alive
(ghost flower/house of breath). Another wish: language
drilled through ice, through my life. 
If grief is love with nowhere to go, this is
my mouth turning into snow.
This is somewhere.

Copyright © 2023 by Allison Benis White. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 20, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.