Arisa White is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn.
Currently, she resides in Massachusetts where she is a graduate
student in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
A Cave Canem fellow, her work has appeared in Meridians,
Crate Magazine, failbetter.com, A Gathering of Tribes, African Voices
and Sarah Lawrence Magazine.
He pointed out the beauty mark in my left ear
when he was an infant, learning to sit up on his own.
Sharing the same pillow, we lay side by side;
he aimed his finger at the punctuation centered in my ear,
looked to see if it may have inked the tip.
And you did it too. When midnight was long past us,
our hangovers draped on the crook of each other's arms,
a streetlight shone onto your bed, spotlighted my profile;
your eyes aglow with this find. You called it a mole,
I told you: No, it's the dot my little brother put there.
You smell like Saratoga Avenue.
Morning comes with no police sirens,
the sun escapes entanglement
from the how do I begin tragedies
of project buildings.
The sunlight cuts the curtains,
a machete through bone;
we lay like sky and water.
Your sleeping face,
betrayed by a smile,
uncovers the moon in your teeth.
I fall back to sleep, dreaming
hurricane kisses, monsoon tongue.
You smell like Saratoga Avenue,
when the night wipes away
the afternoon's sweat with a rag.
A breeze like rubbing alcohol
comes quick and cool,
the train only makes your body tremble;
love feels like chewing on rocks.
Quiet doesn't stay,
and you can hear the heart's rhythms
before your left nipple sucks it up.
Rubbing the sheets against each other
as if washing them of their dirt;
when I was in Ghana in the backyard
with a bucket, scrubbing my knuckles
against my week worth of clothes
while the goats plastered themselves
against the side of the house, escaping
the midday sun in a visor length of shade.
We are love making against each other's
skin on a bed an arm length wide
we fight the fall the spacious floor welcomes
to a chain of pants and pocket change
against our back denim and silver burns.
The field is on fireflies
I have only known this as Brooklyn gave
it to me: fire escapes fettered with Christmas
blinking even when the season has foregone
This field of fire flies where there are no
towers with torched eyes, of brick and steel
where field and firmament mirror
when our borders, a flying field of fire
of breast and epidermis fades, a winged
symphony of stars, a mouth, we are left,
of ballads borealis
a dispersion of phosphorescent pheromones
the dark we carbonate our friction a fizzle
we are left, fists of filaments bloom
this field that fires our currents, a lit Morris
code we tap our brilliant fete of coordinates
to map, we are left the feast of this feel
Back to Front.