Looking up in the dark I thought, Tell me something you’ve never told anyone.
I tried in the closet but the rope broke.
Maybe the relief of conversation, of something almost happening.
The way in the morning, lying on the floor, the light through the blinds cuts my face.
Less than hope: wishing.
How sugar became snow, poured over wet glue on a cardboard roof.
I remember the paper house, hung from a cage hook in my room, swaying.
Not fonder, not fonder—the heart grows stranger.
From Please Bury Me in This. Copyright © 2017 by Allison Benis White. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Four Way Books, www.fourwaybooks.com.
I am not any closer to saying what I mean.
Love has made itself so quiet, a few red fish moving in slow circles.
I want to say like blood, like forgiveness, this obedience, looking at the ground on my knees.
I mean to cease to feel, to cancel, to give up all claim to—
At some point, I rested my hands over my eyes and mouthed, This is my face housed underwater.
This is a love letter.
Every word but mouthed erased.
In the museum of sadness, in the museum of light—
I would climb so carefully inside the glass coffin and lower the lid.
Do you think the saying is true: when someone dies, a library burns down?
Maybe just a sentence, scratched slowly on the lid, Say what you mean.
I am writing to you as an act of ending.
Cutting faces out of paper and folding them in envelopes like thoughts.
Am I a monster, Clarice Lispector asked in The Hour of the Star, or is this what it means to be human?
To be alive, I think as I cut another face.
What makes the shape become visible, and breathe, is the angle and variation of absence.
Sugar skull, I whisper, what I have known all along.
I am you gone.