Orlando White


A man in a black suit with a zero
for a head follows me. He carries a gun
shaped like language; wants me written
and dead on the page. He can smell
my bleach-stained letters and can taste
what I have written; the inked bones of words.
But he cannot hear me breathe. Silence
is my refuge. I see the white door of paper;
I open it and enter. I was there forever it seems,
thinking of the origin and the end of poesis.
I thought I had lost him somewhere between
the point and line of language. But he finds me,
unwritten in the depths of the page. He lifts
the barrel of his pen, center on my forehead,
pulls the trigger. Through hair, skin, bone,
I feel the weight of ink enter my forehead.
The darkness takes up the white spaces
of my skull, I let him fill me with words.

Orlando White
“Writ” is from Bone Light (Red Hen Press, 2009).