poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

poetic forms

About this poet

Allison Benis White is the author of Please Bury Me in This (Four Way Books, 2017) and Small Porcelain Head (Four Way Books, 2013). She teaches at the University of California, Riverside, and lives in Irvine, California. 

from Please Bury Me in This [I am writing to you...]

I am writing to you as an act of ending.

Cutting faces out of paper and folding them in envelopes like thoughts.

Am I a monster, Clarice Lispector asked in The Hour of the Star, or is this what it means to be human?

To be alive, I think as I cut another face.

What makes the shape become visible, and breathe, is the angle and variation of absence.

Sugar skull, I whisper, what I have known all along.

I am you gone.

From Please Bury Me in This. Copyright © 2017 by Allison Benis White. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Four Way Books, www.fourwaybooks.com.

From Please Bury Me in This. Copyright © 2017 by Allison Benis White. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Four Way Books, www.fourwaybooks.com.

Allison Benis White

Allison Benis White

Allison Benis White is the author of Please Bury Me in This (Four Way Books, forthcoming in 2017) and Small Porcelain Head (Four Way Books, 2013).

by this poet

poem

Looking up in the dark I thought, Tell me something you’ve never told anyone.

I tried in the closet but the rope broke.

Maybe the relief of conversation, of something almost happening.

The way in the morning, lying on the floor, the light through the blinds cuts my face.

Less than hope:

poem

In the museum of sadness, in the museum of light—

I would climb so carefully inside the glass coffin and lower the lid.

Do you think the saying is true: when someone dies, a library burns down?

Maybe just a sentence, scratched slowly on the lid, Say what you mean.

poem

I am not any closer to saying what I mean.

Love has made itself so quiet, a few red fish moving in slow circles.

I want to say like blood, like forgiveness, this obedience, looking at the ground on my knees.

I mean to cease to feel, to cancel, to give up all claim to—

At some point, I rested