Four Things Not Forgotten

The horrifying bottle opener, man with only an upper jaw, clamped and grinning below the sink board in my grandmother’s kitchen, the groaning pump, a tray of chicken hearts roasting in her oven.

Carnival glass in the window seat at the end of the hall, the little glass animals I won on the midway wrapped in tissue paper at the end of the bed, shattering, muffled breaking, as I thrashed in a dream about a hand ever-clutching my arm.

The national enquirer tossed behind my grandmother’s couch, its forbidden headlines, death and dismemberment, my cousins and I playing our game of children baking in the oven under her chair.

The elephants pulling the circus tent into place, the hugeness of their droppings, the shoveling, the circus train, the parade, the roustabouts, the ‘talent’, the human cannonballs, the flyers, the huge pretty horses, the calliope, the noise—and learning this was my family.

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Kelley White

Kelley White

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.
Kelley White

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