Sam Whiteís poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, American Letters & Commentary, and several other journals. He is the co-host of the Jubilat reading series, and is a contributing editor for that journal.
Life in a Big Sweater
is as you might expect
given to night terrors given
to sun stroke. I am going down
slowly. I am thinking
we are alone in this knit:
you and me and me and me.
I love you. Have I told you
I am hotter in this sweater. They
are building a long list of covenant
housing on the far side of town.
The grass works its way to my socks.
I am unshod in the sprinkler which
sprouts like an aged whisker
from the growth of the lawn.
I am under you, on top.
From far off a light blinks on
in the deep stretch of a window.
Part of me lives in a crow's beak.
Part of me is nest.
This wind sifts the bivouacked backs
of the cattle yard, milling
the hides for what it can carry. Miles
to the boy in the field, where it comes over him.
Beneath the carriage of mulch and spruce
the wall to wall stock. Filling out
its window, light
from the kitchen. His parents
in and out of view, actors
incidental to the scene.
The father runs his hand down the mother's arm
note. Two dogs. The neighbor's German Shepherds
howl at him each day, with a start and the wind
chipped from his chest.
Side by side in twin pens, independent, like the eyes
of a mystic roving straight
out of the head.
Wind shift. Swing
set. He means to leave. To be missed.
His parents in the window, the barn, the yard.
The mother inclines her head
Swing set. Saw
horse. The father kisses her hair
The dogs will catch scent of him,
then start up. A coupled bellowing
like stumbling footfalls. The mother turns
Kiss Wheel barrow.
Wheel barrow. Slip
of water reflecting from its trough.
The kitchen faucet runs and runs.
Its stream an iron bar.
Its stream a handle.
Gone Into the Last Picture
She waves and throws
a ribbon to the track. On its last
tie the train shrinks to a coin.
My luggage eats at my hands. When I was
young at night the mice at night my socks
at night and I would wear through them.
I saw her against the gridded window,
the book's pages fluttering under her chin.
Sun sections the roof in thin triangles.
A whistle and a hard crank. You'll find
the sky comes down this way,
light as a reed, machinery bared.