Looking South: A Cento by Jackie White

At the far edge of the far edge

beneath the organs of the chest

a mother bleeds in whites, doing

and undoing the blood river.


To put an end to the vexing

I dwell in a whisper, a set of sails,

a fishveil in trance under the tongue,

one with the one who drags the captive.


Because in this house we are all buried alive,

here, doctor, take these scissors . . . cut

the grief sickness, the garment of words,

the naked absence, shipwrecked.
Jackie K. White earned her PhD in Creative Writing (poetry) from UIC with concentrations in Latino/Latin American and Women’s Studies. A former editor with RHINO, she is now a professor at Lewis University where she serves as a faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review. Her poems and translations have appeared in ACM, Bayou, Fifth Wednesday, Folio, Quarter after Eight, Spoon River, Third Coast, and online at prosepoem.com, seven corners, shadowbox, and superstitionreview.com. She has published three chapbooks: Bestiary Charming, 2006 Anabiosis Press award; Petal Tearing & Variations, Finishing Line (2008); and Come Clearing, Dancing Girl Press in 2012.