Caitlin Scarano

Designation

If we have a son, I might name him
ardor but we could call him moon after
my father or your father, those crooked

mouth men, faces lit like tin. If we have
a daughter, I’ll call her undoing. Every night,
you’ll wait by the woodstove for her to crawl

home. And you, my dear, you’re my white dog
year. Always following your tail,
not noticing what is outside of your body.

Your beautiful body aging so much
faster than mine. After many seasons, I might
unleash your neck. I might come to

trust that the blood on your breath is mine.
You can think of me as a sharp
object, one that both holds and refracts light.

The wood axe you carry in case these forests
swallow you. The wood axe you know
you’ll fall upon, bowing as if to a king.

A Buckshot Story, A Lesser Man

Might make my book stranger.
October again an open grave,

waiting in winter’s unhinged mouth.
Snow collapsing the shoulders

of the house. This poem has no
mother so come hungry. Bring your best

spoon to this shallow bowl season.
Slow song your teeth. A buckshot

moon. Rewrite grandfather’s hands
from buttermilk thighs. Or dance!

Ballroom screwed in my eyes.
A girl can be not a doll. Paper folded

at the waist. Tune tin skull and a raccoon
speaking for the dead. Open

grave season, you dug the worm
from your cheek, now suck the spoon—

left hungry. This is winter. Sun
drunk and low, spilling pastels,

forgetting the glow. Moon not
a metaphor. Father, the ballroom

where we danced after my marriage.
Is it not all strange enough? Wary

wire-fingered men and the lure of baby
-doll waistlines. Lipid worm moving

the way you danced. Writhing in my eye.
Our shoulderless house. My grandfather’s

bleeding arm where the falcon leapt from a perch
of muscle. Hungry, as we all are, for the worm.

My grandmother, the raccoon hoarding
a wedding ring we cut from its nest: her flesh.

Author Portrait

Caitlin Scarano is originally from southern Virginia, but now lives in interior Alaska, where she is a poet in the University of Alaska Fairbanks MFA program and editor-in-chief of Permafrost. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Indiana Review, CALYX, and The Los Angeles Review. She is the recent winner of the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Spring 2014 Orlando Flash Fiction Prize.