Enjoy Being Human

Arisa White

Unconditional love is a boat that has sailed.

I’m my mother’s precious jewels, good and quiet.
Any crack, any lip, depreciates my obedience.
I live short and nestled as the tiniest Matryoshka.
My bathwater is hand–me–down, my complaints
whispered portions. I burp and Hydra is noisome
and stinky. She puts my hand into her hands, a Mind
Practitioner from the East Bay Church of Religious
Science. Her eyes look beyond mentionables of flesh,
says: It’s time to come clean.

We are dead weight.

We cut off and let a part go numb,
we sparkle at life slipping.

The heart will not light
up for Christmas, the city doesn’t
have the same charisma anymore.

Sometimes I’m so thirsty, I drink
an entire birthday, so lonely, I knit
a cave. We’re fatherless children,
the pattern makes a hound’s mouth.

I left the apple to rot with bed bugs.
The last name of every bed I know.
If my rock smashes your paper,
on what fruit was I conceived?

We are no wonder.
Every body leaves its absence,
turns up poisoned or drowned.

Through a looking glass,
I saw our faces stone and political—
your dirty laundry, these unethical noses.

What is it marooned blood carries,
besides fear and fleeing, besides smoke
pipes and machete-severed hands?

I have no temperature, still
warming to you. We are that hug.
180 degrees of never meeting—
far from a lineage of sorry.

About Arisa White

Contributor headshot, Arisa White

Cave Canem fellow Arisa White received her MFA from UMass, Amherst, and is the author of Black Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, and A Penny Saved. She teaches in the low-residency BFA program at Goddard College and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University. Arisa is on the board of directors for Nomadic Press and will be the distinguished visiting writer in residence at Saint Mary’s College of California in Spring 2017. You’re the Most Beautiful Thing that Happened is her newest collection from Augury Books. She can be found on the web at arisawhite.com.

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