Monday, November 10, 2014

A Poem by Kelley White

The Last Issue

I have something caught in my throat.
I can't speak or breathe so we pull on
my ears and off it comes.  I am breathing
better but I can't speak so we put it back
on.  It snaps on quite nicely the first two
or three tries.  I sing a verse or two, blow
up a balloon, but then it stays severed,
a neat line across the neck, no bleeding
at all, but the face is getting puffed out
like those people Gahan Wilson draws,
fat running down like wax in a bowl.  You
are working at the computer with your back
to me.  I plait my hair in a french braid,
easier with my head on my lap facing away.
The hair is red and thin like Queen Elizabeth
the First's.  I tie a pink ribbon and I want
to explain this to you, this idea I have about
myself but I can't speak to get  your attention
and my hands are tied in my red knots.

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire.  Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA.  Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books).  She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

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