dancing girl press, 2015
CAITLIN SCARANO is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. Her recent work can be found in Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, and Chattahoochee Review, and her first chapbooks are forthcoming from dancing girl press and Zoo Cake Press in Spring 2015.
The Song My Father And I Will Dance To
at my early winter wedding. I used to believe
in a confederacy of ghosts. A man in a white suit
watching me from the bedroom window of the empty
house next-door. If he had eye sockets, I don’t remember
what was in them. When summer came to Virginia,
we’d husk corn on the front porch steps and I’d save
every white worm I found between the strings
& folds in a jar. I used to believe the Norfolk Southern
coal train would grow a mouth and swallow the house,
crunching on her mercury mirrors, little girl flesh, the bones
of her anger. What did I want with those worms?
You watched me watch them thresh and suffocate,
tracing patterns on the glass with my dirty pointer
finger. Father, are you a wind chime? Do you believe
in blades of rain, a girl bound in packing tape?
What, if not you, sent me stabbing through
the house? When I say man I mean I pared down
my tongue so it would have this point. At my wedding,
you’ll throw a pillow case over my head. You
and the groom will cuff my wrists and ankles. Deliver me
down the aisle. How full of grace. My body writhing
like the worms. And afterwards, after everyone
has kissed my forehead and the skin begins to break,
we can dance in a dimly lit pool hall. Tuck your beard
into your belt. Remind me the rhythm you taught
me when I was towheaded & hissing, all baby teeth.
You and your body can hum a drunken folk song
in my open ear. Did you know those worms
weren’t really worms but offspring? The larvae
of moths. You never know what will be
a winged thing, do you?