Zoë Ryder White

Close to now
April 24, 2022 Ryder White Zoë

Close to now


I should have said from the beginning that I plant the black nasturtiums because they are the saddest, and for that reason I love them more painfully than the others, which means, I am encompassed.
They are more like red night than blue night. And you can eat them.
I should have said, I plant them to eat them standing upright in the sunshine.
I should have said the dump trucks hauling fill-dirt up the hill, pausing just beyond the house to downshift, make the whole yard tremble gently. That whatever came for the lost hen took most of it, left little blood. That I prefer
wild columbine to its elegant cultivars; that I prefer peonies white, or palest pink.
Because the palest pink eludes me, I plant the white, because it, too, is among the saddest.  By saddest, now, I mean peeled to the original with nothing left but itself to show.  Itself being consistent on the outside and within. I aspire to this decency, which does not imply a lack of contradiction.
Someday meaning maybe never; someday meaning almost now. Close to now.

Zoë Ryder White’s poems have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Salamander, Thrush, Hobart, Sixth Finch, and Threepenny Review, among others. Her chapbook, HYPERSPACE, was the editors’ choice pick for the Verse Tomaž Šalamun Prize in 2020 and is available from Factory Hollow Press. She co-authored a chapbook, A Study in Spring, with Nicole Callihan. Elsewhere, their most recent collaboration, won the Sixth Finch chapbook competition in 2019. A former elementary school teacher, she edits books for educators about the craft of teaching.