Kelley Jean White

A graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Medical School. Now she  returned  to her childhood home in Gilford Village, New Hampshire. Poetry keeps her sane.Her work has been widely published over the past five years, including several chapbooks, most recently Rule of Thumb, which received the Cynic Prize from Cynic Press, and full length collections, most recently Living in the Heart from Word Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Exquisite Corpse, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Rattle and the Journal of the American Medical Association. She has just learned that she is the recipient of a 2008 grant for poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Home Visit, HMS II, Revere MA, 1978

78 year old male, Italian descent,
limited English; house darkened,
limited mobility, few groceries
in home: meals on wheels too hard
to heat up; patient eats bananas
and white bread with butter &sugar
most meals; difficult to remove shoes

gangrenous lesions, all toes, right
heal; no working telephone, no
transportation, I know nothing,
nothing; I don't even know
how to wash or bandage feet


What does a starving man do
when the men who have stolen his tongue
offer food,
When they make a locked door
shelter, pose
around him
in their smug fat clothes?
What does he make
when they give him stone and sinew to prove
his primitive
When his eyes see no human
beings, just jibberers
who can laugh but fail
even the simplest words: No. Stop. Man. Free.

I remember a knotted back

muscles taut as electric coils
thin shoulders gray before dawn
the sound of garbage trucks idling
clash of can lids, steam rising
from city vents, me climbing over
your curled fetal silence, drawing
on yesterday's clothes, toothbrush
in my pocket, your eyes dry open
nothing to leave, nothing to kiss,
unchanged boy, bitter, no final
turning, no final word, no hand
extended, no final glances
from the soft closing door


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