He says when we’re fucking he can almost feel us
becoming one person. I forgot what it meant to love this way—teeth
against the back of thigh, his voice like a snake around my spine, to see his death
every time he leaves the house—I forgot so much.
Last night, I could not stop eating his hair. I held it like cake
between my fingers, and wasn’t a self nourished in the dreaming?
Healing, like everything else, was not what we expected. It wasn’t pretty
or linear or real even. But I knew to follow a river, to turn away
from every baby-filled basket in the rushes, every lover promising me
their best rib. There is no good
or evil here. But touch me gently. If there is a god, I’d have found him
by now squatting beneath a stone like a dumbstruck
toad. Though I believe in ghosts. I’ve seen them holding their splayed
throats up to my mother’s mirror which hangs on the edge
of a tooth. The flood in our valley was not punishment; it meant
nothing. How it kissed our doorstep and moved on meant nothing.
I have no god but this—the year of downpour, the way he wants
to become me, an orange ember I’ll swallow
for its glow. Moon so free of a human face, I will be unable
to look away.
CAITLIN SCARANO is a poet based in northwest Washington, and a PhD candidate in English (creative writing) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work was included in Best New Poets 2016 and The Best Small Fictions 2016. Her debut collection of poems, Do Not Bring Him Water, was released in Fall 2017 by Write Bloody Publishing. You can find her at www.caitlinscarano.com .