You come back in my dreams
though you told me less than a year after
you died that you could no longer
come see me.
that time when we had lunch outside
our favorite midday restaurant
near my Southfield job?
We were sitting at the table
under the tilted polka dot umbrella,
no cloud in sight. You and your two foot-long hotdogs,
loaded; me with thinly sliced turkey on wheat.
It was in that dream
You took both my hands and politely
leaned towards me, and whispered you could no longer
come meet me here. I cried that night in my sleep.
It was the only place we had.
And though it’s been years since, when I need it most,
I still see you in my dreams. Close enough for me
to see your smile. You wave even, from a distance.
And when I wake, in that space right before
I am completely aware, I feel your embrace,
smell your cologne, hear your laughter and you
telling me, gently, I love you.
So maybe you do not come
to see me. Maybe, in my dreams,
I fly to where you are,
(Typoeitc.us, Spring/Summer, 2014)
“Around 1824, Jesse Clement had quite a plantation that covered a large portion of what is now South Mocksville. This was the year he built a new residence in keeping with his station in life and the tradition of well-to-do Southern people. It is a house that still stands today.” — Mocksville Enterprise-Record, May 26, 1967.
Your unnamed roads and unpaved paths
stuffed gravel in my throat;
hid the stories behind my voice
I would cough up the following autumns.
Nights I would cry in my dreams
of hearing crows and seeing ghosts.
Years later who knew I would return–
an adult looking for birthrights.
Surprised to discover bamboo roots
growing like orphans on acres
surrounding my grandparents’ home
three miles from the plantation they never spoke of–
its name at the tip of our family tree.
I’ve returned to find your land nearly impotent.
Compromised tree limbs too weak
to direct where I should walk, search, pray.
A tumultuous tide rises within me as I stand
bruised and naked on your bloodstained back.
I weep seeing you buried underneath secrets and modernity:
no monuments stand to tell the truth,
no stones left for me to gather,
no rivers running for me to dip
my shame and regret.
Your roots spread alongside railroad tracks
wedded to knee-high grass.
My breath remains evidence of a previous union;
and it is I who want to be taken in your arms,
admitted to that there is some kind of love you hold
for me and from me.
Until then, your bamboo will never grow as high as the crow flies.
(Press 53 Open Awards Anthology, Press 53, 2008)
They both would come, pain in rounded arms
like holding a basket full of freshly picked
string beans. Lay them on the kitchen table
for the other to experience – finger the pain’s bumps
and bruises; the spots, tender and tough –
and you know, shake the dirt off. One by one,
they would share their stories, taking turns holding
the other’s pain. Sometimes silent, but still
holding the other’s pain until one would nod,
throw it away.
(broken ritual, poems by Jacinta Victoria, Finishing Line Press, 2012; Poetry in Plain Sight, Winston-Salem Writers, 2012)
After experiencing the sudden passing of her father, Jacinta V. White found poetry to be her “lifeline.” She says poetry took on a different meaning for her — helping her process the pain and grief. In 2001, Jacinta started The Word Project (TWP) as a way to provide others a safe space to share their complex stories through poetry.
You can see other work on her website HERE, or The Word Project HERE.
Jacinta was the 2012 & 2013 Coordinator for the NC Poetry Out Loud Competition, and the 2014 coordinator of the Triad’s “One City, One Prompt” initiative. Jacinta is also a NC Arts Council Teaching Artist and a corporate trainer with Forsyth Technical Community College, and the publisher and poetry editor for the new online journal, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, through The Word Project.
White comes to CCD from Winston-Salem Writers. Find out about this vital local organization HERE