Ross White

On Brevity

She tells me repeatedly no mystery 

can unfurl in so short a space.

I no longer listen to words.
The approach of gray clouds
is a mystery in an expanse:

I hear it less clearly than
a carpenter ant
hammering a way out

of an overturned thimble,
or the rumble of a jigsaw
puzzle piece falling

underneath the coffee table,
or an electron
clambering along a cable.


As a Deer Approaching a Clearing the Meadow–

as a retiring ballerina,
for whom the arch of the back,
the outstretched toe,
has been a form of speech
—as a Bradford Pear
under the grey expanse
of winter sky,
its knotted limbs
plucked by sleet
of its last stale leaves—as the lake under moon
after the final ripple
has crawled to water’s edge
and submerged—

I find myself
at a quiet nexus:

I am ready to say less.

Ross White is the author of How We Came Upon the Colony (Unicorn Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, BestNew Poets 2012, New England Review, Poetry Daily, and The Southern Review, among others. With Matthew Olzmann, he edited Another& Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series (Bull CityPress, 2012). He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.