11 — Justice .

Trevor Ketner

If we think of it as a door, the room it opens                  into is a walk-in closet with dresses and suits.There are ways of cutting things out: a small knife,                  a surgery behind a curtain, then the heal.One imagines balance as a kind of inaction,                  getting things to settle and leaving them. And it is,for a while—my mother asks about my boyfriend                  but I don’t tell her about my floral dresses.For Halloween I went as an icon, panty hose                  already with a run in it, tip of bowler, bustier,and the highest heels I’ve ever seen. Turning                  my ankle I couldn’t walk, even barefoot afterward.Cause: queerness. Effect: a subtle rippling                  then a stillness. I would wipe the slate cleanbut the slate is a cheese grater—I would clean the slate                  like the whiteboard in class: Your assignmentis to be everything. Simple enough really, expectation                  being only the act of doing the thing one does.I think we will know how much a word weighs                  someday, science being what it is—featherto the heart’s red brick, quiet pillars, scale.

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Trevor Ketner is the author of [WHITE] (University of Georgia Press, 2021) winner of the National Poetry Series. They’ve received fellowships from Lambda Literary, The Poetry Project, Poets House, and Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. They hold an MFA from the University of Minnesota and live in Manhattan with their husband.

Cover of [White]

Athens, Georgia

The University of Georgia

“‘White is not blank nor is it pure,’ Trevor Ketner writes in [WHITE], an obsessive, amphetaminate, formally adventurous, book-length exploration of the palimpsestic nature of art, gender, literature, and selfhood. Ketner’s meditations on Rauschenberg’s multifaceted work becomes, as well, an examination of racial identity, queerness, and erasure.”
—Forrest Gander, author of Be With and The Trace

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