Slow to Marvel
You are always the finger, the line of milk
down my back. Now you’ve seen a man
die but it doesn’t change how we fuck.
I’ve tried to stop speaking
in birds, liver, spine. Nothing
else works for certain sorrows,
the way they drag across a page
leaving a pus of words.
It’s hard to impress a ghost
unless you beat him with a barstool
or dazzle him with the blue
bruise on your best rib.
The way bodies bend toward or away
from each other like warped mirrors.
Naked on a chair. Tracks in the snow
of our backyard. I only imagine an enormous
creature sick with streetlamp light.
I want to be a face of smeared oil only.
I want to be done with shame.
Do you remember when we went
to that room of miniature rooms
in the museum? You kept looking
for kitchens with open windows,
the smell of grass, an escape
on the back of your swollen
tongue. I just wanted curving
stairs that didn’t lead to nowhere.
Why the Girls in My Poetry Workshop Keep Writing about Antlers
He starts the morning digging his fingers
into the muscle of my left hip. We are always trying
to find the right threshold between pain
and pleasure. Moose shed & regrow their antlers
each year after mating season. In my dream,
it was a different boy who kissed each
of my ribs (your counting does not make
me made from). That the growth correlates
to the amount of daylight that soaks through
an arctic winter. Used
to both attack and attract. He said
he wouldn’t trace any other part of my body
for fear of reprimand. Don’t you want
to be scolded? Covered in velvet, a layer of live
skin, a circulatory system. The selective
moment is sexual. Pumping to his competing
organs. The soft tissue of a stranger. The velvet dries
& peels off in strips like bleeding wallpaper. Does it hurt?
He asks, but he won’t stop either way. You see,
antlers, unlike horns, are not affixed
to the skull.
Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was a finalist for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology. Her recent work can be found in Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, and Chattahoochee Review. She has two poetry chapbooks: The White Dog Year (dancing girl press, 2015) and The Salt and Shadow Coiled (Zoo Cake Press, 2015).