Jocelyn Casey-Whiteman is author of Lure (Poetry Society of America, 2010). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Boston Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere, and she's received grants from the Vermont Studio Center and The Association of Writers & Writing Programs. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. She writes and teaches yoga in New York City.
In the first grade I kissed my best friend on her cheek
And said yes
When an older boy asked if we were in love
Because we were.
When I am alone too much
I feel crazy like the fixed eye of a rooster.
Maybe I've just loved the wrong sort.
That my dress was on inside out.
Maybe I devour faces just because
They are in front of me.
When I had a dollhouse, I knew how to arrange the dolls
So they only looked where I allowed them to.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I feel a flower blooming
In my mouth and I almost show you.
Still Life with Rosin
Draw thin lines around each cherry leaf and mouth
until they come real. Wring till you get something both
terpene and glint. A certain dose of Kelly green
will abrade to what it is without gutting what has been.
Why build all those machines to feel smart?
No one's allowed past the yanked springs or bolts.
What if the voice has been sucked from your throat?
The dancer in buttercream tulle lifts her skirts
to crush an amber rock of rosin with her pointe shoe.
In the orchestra pit, viola strings are coated. You're slipping.
The arabesque on the dark stage belongs only to
the dancer. Music comes from muscle. Not method,
not strings. You could try holding on to something.
Dirt meant dirt where I grew up
not smut or slut or scandal.
Tonight I look up at a constellation taped to the black sky
as in a child's ceiling.
No thing does its job consistently.
Yesterday another threat that barely registered.
We pushed the dirt around for two reasons:
1. We wanted growth, or
2. We wanted gone.
Even voices wear costumes come to think of it.
There may or may not be explosives
embedded in the field.
I admit I'm not sure
if I want to grow or to go.
And I can't remember where that minefield might be.
When I was young I buried my favorite toy
in the backyard to see how long I could go without it.