warm water

The narrative that I do not belong in the spindle of my spine,
in a biorhythm part NaeNae and Wop, as a translation generations
removed from meaning—these are my crying thirties.

Where I’m caught, between past and ASAP, you are the representative
of all who could not risk an act of love. Waking the dream is hard.
Hard to object you. Hard to know there is no more than what, here, is.

I’m fatigued by the going. People say, “You are young, you don’t crack.”
And they laugh a murder. I read them, they read me, they stare. I cry
privately. My sorrow means they’ve found amending.

We are in clouds, on ice and horses and smoking our way
to the morning’s edge. We sip life neat. Medicate so not to feel the root.
I go there, too, to sulk, to touch again what you deny. Key “Coward”
on the driver’s side, “Cunt” for anyone who takes passage with you.

For the consequences of my desire, I cry. For those times in my youth
when I was free and unaware and could turn a woman into a monsoon.
Could strip my skin, step inside out, leave my bones for looking.

We give up so much not to be seen. In all these “nevers” and “I won’t,”
I made a home in places where I didn’t. There is no one familiar here.
Not you to love me, not a one.

Make a body out of my sobs and the greenest grass grows.
In the cemetery, the tombs were petrified by their loneliness.
Bring me deep blues, bring me to my violets.

I bring up femurs and think in triangles, and I’m holy. I am canyon
and echo of curious voices, aren’t you moved? Their chatter, cherry
blossoms and hail; their longing, cicadas.

Hoping it will come back to welcome, I drag our placenta behind me.
Together can be restored with a blink. My thread, where are you?
I have no more needles to spare.

I am at your doorstep. Each tear opens us up to our promise—
bring the wake of your hand to my cheek. What I need today is
your sunshine that pulls me from earth.

from You're the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened (Augury Books, 2016) by Arisa White. Copyright © 2016 by Arisa White. Used with permission of the author.