White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Kerri Webster
Kerri Webster is the author of two books, We Do Not Eat our Hearts Alone (Georgia, 2005) and Grand & Arsenal (Iowa, 2012). A 2011 Whiting Award recipient, she lives in Idaho.

Featured Work
Subscribe to RSS     Share

Kerri Webster



All day she considers her living situation. She’s thinking of finding a lover who’ll buy her a house. Nothing fancy. There are only so many ways you can open a man, and she may have discovered them all. Through the last guy’s chest, if you squinted, you could see through to a county where the women slept until noon. It was glorious. Still, there’s something to be said for a small house at the edge of a field: squash gets fat, squash is brought in, maybe the field’s burned in a controlled manner. She’s sitting in the park as marathoners pass. Ambitious, she thinks. Very civic. Numbers on their chests. She admires what people do for love, but she’s begun to think of property as possible response to
time: here is my kitchen; here are the cupboards in which I store my dry goods. Through another man’s body, she could see the sea. When a storm rose up, she trembled so hard he had to pin her to the bed.

Kerri Webster

Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale


They meet in the clearing to mull over events. The older girl, the boy. They’ve encountered threat before—one winter a bear at the basement window, paws matted with blood; one spring a piebald mare covetous of the thistle; one summer an improbable storm pitting the field with hail. The boy says that threat is God shooting electricity through the muscles. The girl says the nightingale is a saint sent to peck at their lips till their speech turns holy. They know nothing of emperors or ecologies. In the distance, a train hauls most of their thoughts to the next county. The boy has just begun to feel desire. The girl cleans her nails with a penknife, decides a trap will be built with a wide-mouthed jar and some cherries soaked in antifreeze. This may all be a door to something else, a handle waiting to be turned. They neither embrace nor ignore the possibility.

Kerri Webster



We were written to filter toxins. In my sleep,

river monsters. In my waking, eggs

tick away, heady

adoration of waste. We were written to

undress without utterance. My boatman.

Without solid first principles, time slips away. I pull up to a parking lot I’m not meant to come to till tomorrow. Overheard: “My grandfather was faster than a horse”      “I have a twenty-pound sword”      “I see a lot of subtlety in you.” The machine that plays rain is my favorite machine. Girls Sharpie their skin with flowers, tag boulders in the desert and inhale the aerosol. The announcer plays a tone so low

I can’t hear it. Winsome, the crows go loud-mouthed. Lonesome, the horse deserves a better field. There’s a train, there’s a river over here and a river down there and I can smell the runoff. Five children find wings in their honey. Twelve children don’t know what a nightingale is. An erratic’s a boulder abandoned by glaciation. A woman in a pink hoodie waits for the bar to open at noon. This mouth-clumsiness more gift than cur. Trees tangle like hair from a brush. Inshallah says the



Kerri Webster

woman at the desk, to stop the man from crying. Someone’s carved obscenities in the bench. Here are some rosehips stripped from the bush by the museum. Pussy splintering away. Rarely am I angry/am not angry now, though I would like a little pearl-handled knife. We bury the ibis in a coffin shaped like an ibis, the wolf in a coffin shaped like a wolf. The ashes of the house we place inside a smaller house. I thought the sleeve was a flame. Hungry for ritual, each dusk I walk past the decaying cat. When its sharp bones are gone, what will I look on. Its eyes are docking stations.
















Copyright © Kerri Webster. White Whale Review, issue 4.2

Previous Author Prev Issue 4.2