Arisa White

Smoke is caught between bars of light.

It is the light that frees my eyes to see it.
But you stay purposely complex, locked down.
What lesson will you not learn?

The faucet drips a song for you.
Listen to pasta boil. The dog is
in high heels, because nothing can
explain the bitch who appears from its pacing.

That black stallion on the ledge will pass
a push pin, a frog, a malachite egg
on its way to the mountain.
There’s nothing more Everest than you.

I will see to it that all your lifesavers are in jars,
your lemons grow tart, that you’ll remember
those wedding glasses when you pour ginger beer,
and our tongues we keep for biting.

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and the author of You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened. Her poetry has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, NAACP Image Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award. She’s the co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice series for young readers, and forthcoming in 2021 from Augury Books is her poetic memoir, Who’s Your Daddy? She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College.

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