In the mornings I am nebulous
blurred and softened, undefined;
outlined by simple gestures. I am comprised of glimpses
in a bleary mirror
a creased cheek, a hand through hair
I am snippets
a toothbrush a towel corner
door handle faucet
I pulse coffee beans in the grinder
Little rituals like airstrip lights: the sound calls the rest of me back
guides me down and taxis me in
—who knows where I have been—
I have words again, and worries
I pour boiling water over the powdered beans
and wonder how much of me is real.
Inner Landscape of the Businessman in Seat 5b
Skyscrapers of Necessity
is a tree
an air of injured endurance:
it has not been allowed to grow
but is still here
it has been waiting.
roots fastened resolute through concrete
foliage furled, forgotten--but
one day the building of buildings will be finished.
no more jackhammer alarm clocks.
one day soon
he will remember
Homesickness manifests itself in actual illness
a physical disease, deep within the bones
it marinates in the marrow
pounds through the bloodstream
so femurs and ribcage, wrists and shoulder blades
ache with a constant pulsing pressure.
Last week: a fever.
Alone in the dark, I walked the streets of home
frantically window-shopping, greedy as a ghost
I could see them so clearly
every brick every corner every streetlamp
This week: tonsillitis.
Unable to speak or swallow properly,
I can’t speak of my longing for home and I can’t
swallow the fact that I’m here
and not there
Curled under the blankets,
I pray to the monsters under my childhood bed
I want to go home I want to go home I want to go home
Flannery White is a graduate of the University of Washington, but grew up as an expatriate in Beijing and The Hague. Currently, she lives and works in Seattle at a design company.