Nancy White


Sway. Dissolve the walls. Drain
the jelly and scrape the skull.
Unhinge the arms. Slip the skin.

Instead of stalking, flutter. Swap pound
for patter and shank for shim. Sand
the phalanges. Translate brass

to piccolo, cricket, sigh. Soften, offer,
drift. Oh, weep. Waft, puff,
settle. Widen. Stop. All done now,

dear, sweet as our best
enemy (the moon) whom
we’ve watched too much

shuttle the sky. Our deeds are
dead or just loose thread
and that’s all that’s left to carry.


They’d lived there all their lives.
A land of shushing geysers, long plains of gray.
A populous place and watching.
The remaining animals skeletal and slinking.
The homes drastic and identical.
Alleys gave safe passage.
Traditional costume concealed some of my difference.
We embraced at formal events in the correct way.
I felt their ribs the small bowed shoulders.
I always wore my lightest shoes.
Should they turn their blue eyes on me.
Should the smell of joy provoke.
Should it corrode.
Should the sight of my uncovered throat.
They were not my people but I stayed.
What happened had not happened yet.

Nancy White’s work appears in journals such as FIELD, Ploughshares, and New Letters. Her three poetry collections are Sun, Moon, Salt (winner of the Washington Prize), Detour, and Ask Again Later. She teaches at SUNY Adirondack and serves as president of The Word Works in Washington, D.C.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.