about the author

Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in northwest Washington. She holds a PhD in English (creative writing) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her debut collection of poems, Do Not Bring Him Water, was released in fall 2017. Her work has appeared in Granta, Best New Poets, Best Small Fictions, Carve, and Colorado Review. You can find her at caitlinscarano.com.

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One Poem  

Caitlin Scarano

Some thoughts on the one who said I expected too much

My mistake to try to architect astonishment from everything,
even the snake skin we found in the attic
the day of your cousin’s wedding. She was ankle-length
and sternum bones. I could count them. We didn’t
dance. You were wrong about Virginia. Wrong
about the color of my eyes. Wrong to judge me
ungentle. Must have been all that static
snow in your ears or the fear you wrought into a father’s
hatchet. I was the line finally gone taut, winter
of want, the pike sucked from water, beating my spine
against the ice. Four years you accused me
of a barking dog. Four years I dreamt a flock of floating
baby shoes. I laughed at a crown
of firethorn and poison ivy.
Laughed while my forehead bled, laughed
like this was what we wanted. I lied to you
about so much, but the mercy, the mercy
I mouthed for was true. Now a lover asks what I want—
to have my hair pulled? To reign? To be blue
smoke? All of it, all of it. He plants nut trees, talks
in terms of palimpsest instead
of damage, saw a cedar shake house by a green river
and built it, can you imagine? You could barely get out
of the truck to help me. You could barely
hold my voice in cupped palms. Couldn’t
believe I kicked in a door when a door needed
to be kicked in. A body can be made
brave, husk back bracts to the meat,
to the throat-red ruby, to the clearest voice in me, both
childless and unchildlike. I forgive myself
my hunger because it propelled me to cross
that lithium-streaked lake between us.
As long as it doesn’t bite or linger, your ghost may pass
through here. You may even eat of my table, I am that
steeltoed now, flexible of bone,
christened of dogtooth. Listen: ravens scream
into the field a hair-raising joy.

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