My Sister and I Went Down to the Missile Silo
when I was thirteen. In our tallest boots
we waded through a long-flooded tunnel
breathing fug and rust. I clutched my flashlight
but wasn’t afraid: I was high with it—
wanted to lead the way, take us farther,
deeper—wanted to touch the darkest dark
with my little beam of light, with my hands.
We reached the silo. I toed the cut edge
of the world, leaned out over a black hole—
water, far below. A giant mirror.
If I broke it, I’d sink seven stories.
From somewhere in shadow, my sister’s voice
pulled me back. Who are you trying to be?
The darkness took the words I couldn’t speak.
Alice White reads “My Sister and I Went Down to the Missile Silo”
Originally from Kansas, Alice White now lives in rural France. She is a recipient of the Langston Hughes Award and scholarships from Bread Loaf and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Alice is a 2022 Hawthornden Fellow, at work on her debut collection. Her poetry appears in publications such as The Threepenny Review.