Three poems by Jackie White

Jackie White

Jackie White

Jackie K. White earned her PhD in Creative Writing (poetry) from UIC with concentrations in Latino and Latin American and Women's Studies. She served for 9 years as an editor with RHINO, and is an associate professor at Lewis University. Her poems and translations have appeared in ACM, Bayou, Folio, Karamu, Natural Bridge, Quarter after Eight, Spoon River, Third Coast, etc. and online at seven corners, shadowbox, and Her chapbook Bestiary Charming won the 2006 Anabiosis Press award, and Petal Tearing & Variations was published by Finishing Line in 2008. A third chapbook is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.

Night Walk 4

Thickest dark, this cusp
of summer's twin clawing

when pooled sweat between breasts, along spine gulley
turns to rapids boiling, when tossed sheets untangle crescendo,

clock clap, fridge thrum, and all surge-pent gadgetries
collude to stir my stirring—and the outer door gasps

dense air where asphalt and concrete breathe out
branch-twitch against the neighbor's siding

streaked with viscid dew.
Then flesh flinches, ears perk: what message is who

sending through distant truck grind toward some delivery
and jets sparked with red-eye returning? Is it,

“we want every journey to mean-” 


Street lights gaze downward but refract
a planet-wide star-shrouding haze,

down the road, the bridge has its own sentries
that fleck the waterfall spillage, and upstream

another kind of light floats, unmoving—

“what moon am I in or under, what story”

in the mute windows I pass a rare lamplight casts
the lure of home and brings the poet back to me

with a howling, vengeance, nostalgia's old nagging—“oh,
for winter, when it was easy”
to see the river as fox, an animal
snow-coated and sleek, white sheen showing

no sign of edges or how what's frozen, frazil-iced,
feeds the submerged surging.


The warm solstice-night slinks, all still
unsettled and too full—the river, the threatening

humidity, this body
giving way and having to trudge

back     to forgetting,    starting over,   a false cool,     drawn shades


Body Cento from The Best of 2009
I read bodies, she says. So I
offered the body a drink,
down in a wave, one body with seventy-two knees:

the weight of his own body and a coil of song,
the spill of night into flesh.
People all over the world make lives in small places,
their bodies glowing bluely in the dark.

And why is it that blood, which is most of our bodies,
blocks god the way bodies block light and

body forth the longing of anything falling—
the body beneath. In the killing jar.

And it's true the body,
the bodies sinned, heads saved. Don't

hide the sacrilege of writing
from watchful bodies.

Your body, a dead language,
issues from the deepest trance of its body

to feel your body blooming,
to remember when my body was friend.


Body Cento from the Decade I Edited

Year Nine

Bodies are so animal
and now this head lives in that sound without body.

Last night we watched as our bodies broke free.

Staring at you across the room, my body seemed composed
of eyes the old body hardened, rejecting the ravaged ovaries,      
the black holes bodies leave behind.

I go to sleep; a new body arrives