Open 2023 Poems - Mark White


Pressing to the Stone of Your Grave
By Mark White


to the stone of your grave
my hand loses color
like the wintering days
surrounding the old cemetery
on Pebblebrook Ridge.
The breeze is cold,
unceasing, it says:
"The leaves have all fallen,
You are red,
You are gold,
Join the earth's quilt,
Red and gold."
Nothing remains but my hand
to the stone of your grave,
trembling it stays
like a last leaf holding to that oak
on Ember Street,
in your garden untended
through the dying of days,
in the darkness, clinging
to autumn,
as the falling white snow
presses down.


To the Round Pen

In the early morning quiet before I see your eyes,
You take him from the stable to the round pen.
He is nervous, ears erect and swiveling,
Skittish as you unsnap his lead,
And he moves on through the gate with quickened pace.
I see your face impassive in the half light as you watch him,
Crop raised in your hand to snap the air.
You make him run, and he runs
Because the blood of his distant fathers
Urges him incessantly. He runs
While dirt spits up from beating hooves,
Body wet with froth, now burning, runs
As I ran, circling, searching
For a gate, some path beyond your fenced control,
Though all the while with gaze entreating,
Watching, waiting, hoping, yearning
For that moment, for the signal to stop,
Great head bowed, facing you,
Licking, chewing, lifting feet
In motion forward,
White breath poised in the morning air.


Mark Arvid White lives and writes in Alaska, and has had his poems and stories appear in such publications as Permafrost, New Myths, Candelabrum, Infinity Wanderers, Modern Haiku, and many others online or in print. He is the past Alaska Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America.


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