chapter 42. The Whiteness of the Whale. remade as a poem by Leslie Anne McIlroy.

The White Poem or What To Read at the Chapel

Leslie Anne McIlroy

Oh bride, oh bride, oh bride of the cloud’s veil, so many kinds of white you wear. I am painting the walls in the big white room where the rats live through the experiment, eggs neatly nested, and the men, too, wear white shoes. I am the whale, belly up, shining, buffing the tongue. Oh linen, oh vanilla, oh pearl, what color the lie, the sheets? The blood is always red, the bad girl in white patent leather and the good, magnolia/corn silk/seashell — ghost. The factory is white and all the little brides are crying, lamb lost in the salt mill, the tiny distances/betrayals/deceits, Lanikai sand, and in the end, the cake/flesh/garter, the spotlight following the groom’s feet as he moves, 1-2-3, the child’s breath as she sleeps, rice swollen in the dove’s belly, the pillow/promise/paper, the ring of bone, the teeth.

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