Ross White

I need to feel the lash as you beat me out of me, 

the white knuckle across my cheekbone as you beat me out of me.

If I seem like I want to be insensible, I am ready to leave

this body, ready to ascend to star if you beat me out of me.

Ready for a lung collapse. I will accept any form of brutality

as payment. I will beg you to beat me. Out of me,

nothing good will grow. No dogwood. No forsythia.

I am salt in soil, poison ground. Beat me out of me

so that I may forget I ever was. Concuss me,

retrograde amnesia me. Beat me out of me.

When I was a boy, my father said that the last one to woods’ edge

would drive the devil’s automobile. He beat me out. Of me,

of my preoccupation with the devil, he could barely speak.

He locked me in a distant cabin. Please, beat me out of me

and my tendency to remember. Reality is so fucking fickle

sometimes. It will be the cudgel which beats me out of me,

then hammers me back in. Loose nail. Faulty wiring.

Nothing is right. It is why I ask you to beat me out of me,

that I may be anyone but my self-obsessed self, 

preening like a white seal. Beat me out of me

with the violence you have only just discovered

you needed. The devil steers. I am him. Beat me out of me.

Found In Volume 44, No. 01
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  • Ross White
Ross White
About the Author




Ross White is the author of the chapbook, How We Came Upon the Colony (Unicorn Press, 2014). With Matthew Olzmann, he edited Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series (Bull City Press, 2012). His work has appeared in Best New Poets 2012, New England Review, Poetry Daily, and The Southern Review, among others. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.