In the White Corners of a Room

Like a linen sheet on a clothesline
or curtains in a sick room the child
lifts with her hand, like the featureless
walls of an asylum, white fever, a winter walk
with dogs, breath like a plume of smoke
veiling the trees, heavy as billows lifting from fire,
warm as the steam from an engine, far off
as a white note 57 octaves below middle C
singing from a black hole in space,
the fog inside a white dress,
the body pressed through the skin by sound,
white matter of the spine, the smoke
of words, the white cells entangled
in a mesh, a hedge of white thorns,
bone calcium, cartilage glass,
the acne, the wen, the spits like clouds, filaments
of the cell at the moment of division,
fat like a hearth, like a white winter fire,
the spot inside the eye which bends light,
a white stone cataract, falling water becoming air,
air inside the lungs, sleep without dreaming,
the placental bath of  drifting matter,
of urine, semen, tumor, of the egg,
the gray matter in wet paper, what lifts
from the garbage heap, the breath of seagulls
and horses, the air caught between blind trees,
clouds of the last things, the body’s x-ray
vision, the fog after sickness
and recovery, rain and the end
of rain, words on a blackboard, erased.

The Bitter Oleander, 2008