VALLEY OF WANT | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Ross White, honorable mention prizewinner in the 10th annual Zócalo Poetry Prize.

I want & want & the moon
keeps blazing
orange in night sky.
Coyotes keep baying
to the gods who hide
the rabbits.
lemmings & town drunks,
waterfalls keep throwing themselves
over cliffs & I want.
Mushrooms tip
their purpling caps
as if daydreaming &
through all descending mists
I want & want. What
hunger. What salute
to desire
is this paddock in darkness,
swelling with the guttural urging
of toads &
symphonic creaking
the grasshoppers saw
from the teeth
of their legs.
I want all nights to be this
night & all nights to ache
with this want &
I want & want
& how
& how could I not.

Ross White is the author of Charm Offensive, winner of the 2019 Sexton Prize, and three chapbooks. He is the director of Bull City Press, the editor of Four Way Review, a teacher of creative writing and grammar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a lark on Twitter: @rosswhite. This poem received an honorable mention in the 10th annual Zócalo Poetry Prize.
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