Arisa White


ARISA WHITE is a Cave Canem fellow, Sarah Lawrence College alumna, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess, Post Pardon, Black Pearl, Perfect on Accident, and “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. A native New Yorker, living in central Maine, Arisa is an assistant professor in creative writing at Colby College and serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press and is an advisory board member for Gertrude. Source

Know Thy Lonely Girl

You crawled inside me

and the wind was kept from you. 

We were never swept away. 

I was a different kind of hiding place.

Who was who among the stripes and lepers? 

The moment I stepped from the pack, you felt

the bandage rip off. Easily spotted now, I walk

steady across the kitchen floor, and lighting the pilot

is the god who reveals herself with this kind of privacy. 

Call this the place where thy lonely girl is found.

I confirm for her she is true. My eyes survive her gaze— 

even in the company of others, we’re just archipelago. 

Lonely Girl has no drama for spilled milk. 

She is not a dandelion, and there’s no need

to punish loneliness. Those who try to break her

from solitude use her as practice for their own girl— 

they cannot muscle the pain they’ve walled within her, 

can’t stomach the girl they have and so greedy-to-the-bone— 

their mouths shaped into that vowel for sucking and their

canines point at the girl who is new to your flame.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Health & Illness


Literary Devices:

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered