Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 6 . . .

I knew I'd lost you

on your tenth birthday. Your father pierced
your ears. Walked into my house with surgical
instruments—and you chose it, though I,
I’d reached forty, I liked to say, intact—
no physical alterations, no piercings, tattoos,
scarifications. I didn’t even wear jewelry
or make-up. But you perched on a kitchen stool
and I ran, put your little brother and sister
in the car and cried injustice into your
grandmother’s laundry basket (while she taught
them to fold.) That was the year your aunts
gave you a cookbook and you started to make
an art out of chocolate. I swallowed, hard,
and grew.

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Kelley J. White

A native of New Hampshire, Kelley White has been a pediatrician in inner-city Philadelphia since 1980. Her poems have been widely published since late 1999 in numerous journals including Exquisite Corpse, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Rattle, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, in several chapbooks, most recently Rule of Thumb, which received the Cynic Prize from Cynic Press, and in full length collections, most recently Living in the Heart from Word Press.

She’s also rather stunned to have received nine Pushcart Prize nominations, five in 2006! She is particularly pleased to have work included in two recent anthologies of poetry by physicians, Primary Care, from the University of Iowa Press, and Body Image, from Boa Editions. "Pandora,” a poem included in Body Image (and in her first collection from The People’s Press, The Patient Presents) was featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac on January 5th, 2007.

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© 2007 Kelley J. White