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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

peaches; the trout; nuclear fusion

By: Caroline White


i’ve wondered how the tumbleweed looks graceful

stumbling into itself, almost taking flight, but then always

staying here like it knows responsibility, like it is tethered by love

to this earthly life. i read the pages

that the previous book owner has dog-eared, the poem about peaches

by li-young lee. blossom, impossible blossom, he writes.

how the peach is more than the peach,

more than its flesh and its flavor,

it is the shade it endured, the sunlight that melted onto the fruit,

the days and nights of its nativity, sweet impossible blossom.

grains of salt can catch light and glitter, never even knowing.

i watch them in my kitchen, forgetting my body,

and i feel anonymous like the moon.

my father was religious about using the parking brake

and now i reach for it, too. it almost feels like someone there, warm

and quiet, the small company of it. and where my father was,

now just the stillness like the unpopulated parts of north carolina,

the flat expanding farmland

that mimics eternity.

the trout

the sky needs to heal after the airplane goes through it, and the airplane

needs to land eventually. I look back through the midwest rain

and I feel the big pull inside of me again -- I'm still learning 

how to talk about the plains, what the flat earth can do to a girl.

my solitutde is an attic that I undress in. I sit on the library floor

and read about architecture and when reading is too much,

I just look at the pictures, and when looking is too much

I close my eyes heavy with the buildings and listen

to two people talking about the pandas at the zoo, how great it is

to see them in motion. to be around them when they're just

moving. that's a deep and true love, I think. I'm looking for a book

about fishing, even if I don't know why; everyone copes in different

ways, maybe. I sit down on the carpet and finger through

the pictures of fish, these are all black and white drawings and i'm re-breaking

the spine with every page. I'm the only person

on the second floor when I remember seeing venus standing 

on my porch. it looked like all the stars around it.

unextraordinary, beautiful celestial body. and inside,

my father in his bed, maybe it was barely june,

how I am beginning

to forget, the distance between our mortalties

expanding like a flower in blossom. 

my crying blotches the greenback trout,

lets his fin expand a little into the wilderness 

of page 84. 

nuclear fusion

the trees charred but you 

heavy on my mind like boots trudging through

the tarred snow, and the fires spread through

western north carolina like a dream transitioning

into the next one, expanding aimlessly, looking for

new realms. i’m trying to find myself in an article about

nuclear fusion, how the stars with the most gravitational pull

have the shortest lives. i try to find you, too. i think of the pain

that you carry through this life, endless in its bearings, and you,

the unextraordinary body for which i search, covered and sometimes

un-covered, weighed down by these things you know,

like a drop of rain on a single seed -- stopping its flight 

and it lands in a parking lot, it waits

and it makes its quiet life here. i want to tell you

about the small comforts of this humanity, how everyone

we see has about the same body temperature as us. 

the immeasurable softness of a knife spreading

strawberry preserves, the tenderness, the trust of

the turning lane: the cold asphalt, in its violence, paving

a way for me to reach you. 


Caroline White is a poet and fiction writing living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She focuses her work on the intersection of grief, femininity, and place. She received her BA in English from the University of Maryland and completed graduate work in poetry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.


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