Three Poems by Flannery White


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
            bzzt. bzzt.
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 

amongst the 
            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 
a seed






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.