Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Allison Benis White / “Waldgeist,” “Sheathe,” and “Ignis Fatuus”


Allison Benis White

“Waldgeist,” “Sheathe,” and “Ignis Fatuus”


The souls trapped
in the trees in Dante’s forest
of suicides can only speak
when their branches are broken
as they bleed.

What else is language
now but injury: why did you
break me?

Why did you leave me?

And relief: to bleed
in one place, for one reason,
to say I failed to live
sanely on earth
without you.



Even in the dream,
we lie awake in the
dark, side by side.

When I ask
if you’re dead, you say,
Alive in your mind.

And of the four truths,
I remember two: we are
alone, we will suffer.

It’s no wonder
we cannot sleep.

We cannot die,
your cool hand
in my hand, carved
from ivory or ice.


Ignis Fatuus

It is possible to be
lovely in the dark.

A few thin trees
leaning toward
each other.

In ghost or pale
light, my fingers
on my lips.

If to speak is to die,
I will whisper.

If to speak is to die,
I will make
trees of my hands—

I will say nothing
by shivering, I will
say everything.

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