Thursday, February 5, 2015

Three Poems by Kelley White

5 degree day

This boy in red shorts asks why the word genitals is always plural.  Has an angry scar on his back that he says is a razor cut when he was five years old and there are five children 14 13 12 11 10 8.  He is the twelve.  There are also burns.  Three.  He says a friend made them with a lighter.  One is shaped like a capital letter A.  I am still.  Coughing.  It is drowning stuff.  As a doctor and I am not popular.  How can I be so wrong?  Strong.  Never enough money.  I spend on toys and a bear.  Toy car.  Against scars.  How can I be a mother?  I resent everyone.  Those who show up and those who don't.  I think I am so good and I think I am so bad.  The boy wants a dog.  Perhaps a cat.  I am not fitting even to have a dog or a cat.  I can write a letter.  Therapy dog.  Oh snow.  Snowbanks cold.  I slip on ice.  Bleeding.  Outside the office.  Toy car.


All those dolls.  Toys.  Bears.  Huge debt.  And 60 pounds up.  No time to clean the house or walk.  Eating.  Everything costs money.  Flying.  Go.  I'd like to dip into what my mother has in that little victory account or trump or triumph account, whatever it's called but I don't want her to know that I've come to this.  I can't buy an acre of sheep for 10,000 or 1000.  I'd like to give to charity but it hasn't made me popular.  I can't afford to have somebody clean my house.  I am sorry to be so close to anger.  You.  I cannot help but see this as about the boy and not about your grandmother or me.  And about that man.  Him.  Me.  How spoiled you are.  How spoiled I am.  How angry I am that I spoiled you.  How angry I am that I am not the one who spoiled you.  How angry I am that I spoiled myself.  Oh.  That insurance policy.  Do I cash in that?  Be a pauper after death?


It will be herbs not bees.  The bees have to wait.  And I am fond of them.  But afraid.  Afraid of stoning that even now gives me that shiver that itching buzz.  I got frustrated with a girl today and all of it really the way her sister plucked at the walls pealed my stickiest my sticker wall decor.  Your son wants to know about this pile pied piper man and if he comes to Philadelphia.  Sell.  Why not.  New Hampshire.  Has my son seen pumping iron.  I saw that.  With Alex in the old theater that showed movies with a pipe organ playing.  But I don't Hank.  That went with the body builders.  Bills and pills theft was there was something gay perhaps about that.  I certainly did not find Arnold that attractive but and he did marry a Kennedy and I remembered those edgy gray gay body building magazines and soft porn and gun magazines I found babysitting behind the clean sheets and now my mother thinks that man is dying a few months after his wife who he treated badly and gave her love in the lateness of a marriage and does someone I won't name take care of me.  One couldn't shouldn't say but I told him son what you said after heaven has Heather has two.  Two mommies and he is.  Well he's an old man afraid of rape.  Odd to take him to a colonoscopy and they give sedation and they give sedation and amnesia analgesia.  Oh I do not like that idea.  A drug to forget the pain.  That humilation.  I did not have colonoscopy.  It was a barium enema.  And oh my father oh my son my son my son.  Are you?  Are you well?  Herbs not bees.

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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