National Poetry Month Day 8: Arisa White





As close to the north star as I can go,
a lesbian living in slipper socks

flannel shirt and work boots, rugged
gear to shovel toddler-high snow

de-ice walkways so the postman doesn’t
slip scrawling icicles on our envelopes

The news isn’t against me, invisibility isn’t
as sensational without violence

Clearly, in this afterlife, no one sees
the sorry lingerie ghosting in this deathbed

Through these panes, a poster child for the opioid epidemic
is windblown—breath of his nightmares radon in air.

The army vet installing our mitigation system
says lesbians on tour were falsely reporting rape

No transition from PVC pipes to reports from the field
except for the grammar of our marriage—

my vow to her vowel is an Afghani in his I.
We are not modern in our naming

Already implied in our carpet munching is non
conformity. The fluidity of our scissoring is mermaidic.

When the bill comes—Yes, we are together
when cashiers want to check us out

They cannot see this loving vs United States
I’m living in the bulldagger of my mind—


Photograph of Arisa White by Nye Lyn Tho.

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and the author of Perfect on Accident, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, Black Pearl, Post Pardon, A Penny Saved, and Hurrah's Nest. Her poetry has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, NAACP Image Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award. The chapbook “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. 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 autopoetic narrative, Who's Your Daddy? Arisa serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College. More from this author →