Cento: The Poet Dreams of …

Ross White

Altitude. Amplitude. Angels with clipped wings living among us.

Bestiaries. Blooms, terrible blooms. Books stacked for miles, waiting to be read.

Caterwauling at the summits of mountains. Charms. Crows.

Deluges. Dust, which covers some long forgotten secret, brushed aside

easily. Errant threads to follow through this particular eternity. Even years.

Foraging. Forests primeval in which they might roam forever.

Girl giants and girl kings. Great fires burning to restore the fields.

Histories of regret separate from histories without regret. Houses of water.

Ideal cities and imaginary royalty in their impossible castles.

Journeys to take and journeys to foresee. Justice.

Keeping love blurry, bringing it into focus. Knowing a safe house in every city.

Larks. Letting broken things stay broken. Licorice.

Maps to the next world. Maybe the saddest things. Mezzanines. Miracle fruit.

Not living on earth, not living on Mars, not having a body.

Orchards full of stone lions. Owls.

Pilgrims. Plain water. Pleasure domes full of words.

Quivers of arrows with no waiting bow.

Reason. Reincarnations. Rescuing the dead from their particular eternity.

Sleeping with the dictionary. Slow lightning pulsing the sky at night.

Tender hooks. Thieves who pluck what we have locked in the interior.

Unabashed gratitude. Unmentionables finally being mentioned.

Velocities. Volcanoes, these almost nightly. Vows kept, vows broken.

Waves, so many waves to count, to wade in. Winter journeys.

X as the poet — her name, her mark, the unknowable destination of her bathed in

yellow light. You must remember this: dreams, like a

zero star hotel, remain unoccupied by all but the brave.

This poem made from titles of books of poems, including Tess Gallagher, Dilruba Ahmed, Donika Kelly, Melissa Stein, Keetje Kuipers, Leila Chatti, Elline Lipkin, Steve Orlen, Christine Gosnay, Rose McLarney, Vievee Francis, Melissa Crowe, Brittany Cavallaro, Jack Gilbert, Joshua Poteat, Matthew Nienow, Erika Meitner, Miranda Field, James Applewhite, Craig Morgan Teicher, Jennifer Chang, Ed Pavlic, Ellen C. Bush, Joy Harjo, Marcus Wicker, Matthew Olzmann, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Sarah Blake, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Maurice Manning, Jean Valentine, Yusef Komunyakaa, Carl Phillips, Jenny George, Max Ritvo, David Ignatow, Harryette Mullen, Eduardo C. Corral, Beth Ann Fennelly, Phillip B. Williams, Ross Gay, Michelle Penaloza, Rebecca Hazelton, Sandra Beasley, Tracy K. Smith, Stephen Dobyns, Elizabeth Acevedo, Garrett Hongo, Michael Bazzett, Anselm Berrigan


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