I.In this case there is a nighta Western autumn frost-sealedazaleas a meadow thinnedof crickets & flinted by stars
A one room cabin with tarnishedfloors yellow walls sixsunken mattresses long outgrownby children & stackedin the corner
There is ardorwithin the arm of the backhandas it snapsouter ridge of eye socketa knuckle steelshotthrough the divot of left temple
There is a spindrift of collapseone body limp one bodycaved in immediate pleafor clemency
II.At age 9, my grandmother came home to find her mother’s house on fire. The torch-carrying hands came in askance each Sunday for the medicine herbs beneath the kitchen window. White hands, of course-- smelling of lemon balm and camphor. Fragrant hands, soothed, repaired, touched flame to the chattel house. My grandmother and her mother ran through the woods, cleared the creek to land at Uncle Joseph’s.
I’m telling you this so you understand my blood knows something of escape.
III.It begins umbilically.The passage may be snarled, feeblebut pulse nevertheless.It may be slick-walled,elastic.It may employthe tidings of conduits:birth,lineage, conjure,love.It moves expectorantthrough thickened tunnelsof the body.It crimsonsan open palmacross a tarnished floor.
A 2016 Pushcart prize nominee, Lisbeth White is also an alumna of VONA and Callaloo Creative Writing workshops and has received residencies at Blue Mountain Center and the Dickinson House in Belgium. After obtaining her BFA in Creative Writing at University of New Mexico, she hit the Northern California coast to complete her Master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy. She’s currently wandering about the woods of the eastern seaboard, offering workshops in decolonizing relationships to nature for women of color and eating chicken-fried tofu.