I am an apple
hanging fat upon the sighing limb.
Hard as a planet,
with eyes enough
to drink the sky,
I only have to speak
and the entire tree
listens with all its pointed ears.
But one slip
and I am face-down,
mumbling to myself,
with only a worm's tongue.
I Could Have Been On That Bus
which left the bridge
and dove toward the afternoon street;
I lived on that route.
I could have sat up front and watched
the statement on the shooter
with his oiled gun;
could have seen the driver
fall out the open door
as he tried to take the steering
wheel with him,
could have watched him fall.
I could have watched the calm
young man point the gun
to his own head and pull
could have watched the great
bulk of seats and wheels ballet
down the air;
faced my own death.
I could have.
I am warming up
on the cliched head of a pin
though the pin
keeps getting smaller
and these acrobatics bend
my limbs unnaturally.
"Can I stop now, friend?"
The tedious season
of my brain has begun.
To write a poem is Promethean now;
such a steep ascent
requires more than I have.
I squandered ink and vision
to reach this plateau.
I deserve a bronze medal
for getting out of bed,
the gold for remaking it,
all the ends tucked in.
Long after the lithium dissolves in your bloodstream,
the black eye of night will still open
upon the bruised sunrise, the blue ache of day.
Blame me, daughter, for passing on this savage gene
that eats away at our good times, that feeds the bad.
If you are at war with yourself, it is my fault.
I couldn't keep it to myself. Life is lonely
when no one speaks your language.
I wanted someone to talk to;
I chose you.
I wanted someone who could stay up for days on end.
I wanted someone who could hibernate in caved silence
besides the bear and me.
Your mind's rhythms will become slow,
and you will never be completely happy
or completely sad again.
I lie flattened by the heat;
all the covers abandoned to the floor.
The fan in the window does no good;
I crave water, any kind of shore.
A swim would help no matter
if the moon's bland face guarded
or I'd find a splintered skiff
pushed into tall reeds, oarless.
Let's say I found myself on a lake.
If a crowd began to gather
on the lantern shore,
I'd paddle by, my hands in cool water.
If I saw you walk towards me,
a starlit Christ, I'd turn away.
Your body would have its old heat
and I'd wake.
Teresa White: I began writing before the onset of manic depressive illness at age 18. Went undiagnosed for nearly fifteen years and bounced in and out of hospitals. I'm presently on disability and finally on medications that seem to help most of the time. I've had over 100 poems published in online e-zines, have one book of my early poems published, "In What Furnace," and am working on a book of recent work.
Teresa White Joseph C. Hinson Diane Laurie-Farmer David Ruslander Helena