Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kelley Jean White


There was a gathering of siblings in meeting today,
a row of birth-right Quakers, eyebrows raised
in the same laughters, mouths bent by the same
memories, eyes varied in the same light. We are
all of us brought into life by acts of love; yes,
many of our parents did at least once love each other,
did touch one another and in that moment may
have even loved themselves; even the woman
used worst by the world may have moments of
wonder looking on the face of her child; each,
all of us, just these moments, brought in love:
let love bear us again; touch the light within.


you’d risk the pain of family
for this funeral, this saintly
(you say,) woman, this aunt, last
of the generation of your fathers,
and you do, you drive all night,
all day, 600 miles, and find yourself
in a kitchen, (I remember a kitchen,)
with your sisters, the cousins spilled
onto the lawn (I remember a piano,
a table, an Easter dinner, something wrapped
in tinfoil,) you say I never met her,
I say I remember, but it doesn’t matter
(I remember, it was the first year we were
together,) you tried to compliment
your sisters, said they looked like
they’d lost weight, and they cried
(I say you should know never use
the word fat in any conversation
with to a woman,) why are you alway
sending up with people crying (I hold
my tongue,) I say it was good
you traveled, (there must have
been something good about it,)
you say something about reaching
the end of a road, we’ll talk about it
tomorrow, not, now, not until tomorrow
(and I’m afraid of what you’ll say)

Lost Poem

did it begin with a wet magnolia blossom
or a cracked linoleum floor?

the incessant voice of the television
or the breath of a child asleep?

the siren, the stuck car horn
or a thrush on a city morning?

or you, the truck packed, the house empty
or the smoke from a candle snuffed out?

Purple And Gray

You said, that purple,
that deep purple, it's good on you,
purple and gray. . .

( I was lying beside you
on the picnic blanket
in the park)

. . .all the gray in your hair,
pretty, there,
in the sunlight,
with that deep purple

. . . Oh:
my bare feet rub each other,
little, young, smooth,
like yours, child,
at the edges
of your bed. . .

-all poems previously published at ken*again

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