A Northwest Based Literary Journal

The Body, The Ticket

by Renia White

read as pdf

mama’s mouth tasted of metal so they gave her insulin,
a fear of large fruit

another ticket for a train to the convention,
life on the banners, death in the booths.

I tie my bones to the back of the Doraville-bound train
with teeth like rice and the kind of body that dies.

the man I love eats little sugar, has small lungs,
a big head, no tongue for my sweet-current heart.

just then, like a baby cousin shot mid-glide, windsongs
whistling through the new mouth on his chest,

someone’s daddy sat on the tracks after flying
rail pass on the platform in remembrance.

one man says, I dropped that! to stop the crowd.
“dropped that?” I wonder—the body or the ticket?

and my head feels like a casket full of electricity,
a throbbing disconnected from the heart

a man with no love, no power, a mama searching
for escape, but the body exploding in on itself

means I am melting even the scissors to untie
those bones that clack in competition.


Renia White received her MFA from Cornell University where she is a lecturer teaching writing. Winner of Sonora Review’s 2016 poetry contest and the 2015 Hurston/Wright award for college writers, her work appears or is forthcoming in The New Guard, Stone Canoe, The Offing, Public Pool, Prelude, Sonora Review and elsewhere.

%d bloggers like this: