2023 Frontier OPEN Finalist: Today, while reading the definition of OCD by Zachariah Claypole White

Join us in celebrating this poem by Zachariah Claypole White, one of our finalists of the 2023 Frontier OPEN!

Please stay tuned as we publish the rest of the finalists throughout the month of December.

Today, while reading the definition of OCD

I mistook “symptom” for “symphony.”

As in, this new dosage will calm the orchestra,

though breath still gathers, awaiting the bassoons.

These unsteady hands are a music shared

by my father, and though he has never

tuned a piano, he would understand

it must be measured to the ear, not perfection.

And yes, I am waiting for the conductor to tire;

have memorized my body in the violence

I commit against it. But, it is a beautiful mistake,

isn’t it? To look for illness

and find a legacy of men

singing across the flooded pond.

Zachariah Claypole White

Zachariah Claypole White is a Philadelphia-based writer and educator, originally from North Carolina. He holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. His poetry and prose have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, such publications as Bourbon Penn, The Maine Review, and The Hong Kong Review. His awards include Flying South's 2021 Best in Category for poetry as well as nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Zachariah teaches at the Community College of Philadelphia and the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College.

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