The White Dog Year / Caitlin Scarano

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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?