Poor Claudia published poetry, prose and conversations online and in print from 2009 to 2018.

Caitlin Scarano

Three Poems

  • Soap
  • Final Conversation
  • Red Milk


because healing is slow
belly of blood
the body thy kingdom
come when he told me
he would wash
my mouth with a bar
of soap I believed him
I licked a decorative seashell
shaped soap to prepare myself
he would not be gentle will
be done the inside
of my mouth would bruise fruit
that seemed okay to eat
on the outside
my mother prevented this
but what more is there than a human
touching another our girl
lives oscillated
around the prospect
of his hands skin’s collision
my finger makes patterns
in your sweat on my summer
stomach when my grandmother shot
her first buck did his belly
fill with blood under his guidance
our Father who art
she leads my mother
electrode silence padded
cell winter that drive to the abortion
clinic in Brooklyn how the shock
might have cradled her head
had it happened by God
the way you cradle mine

Final Conversation

Catgut, my last flower.
The last girl waiting
as the penultimate dance
starts to play. Digging
the toe of your saddle
shoe into the gloss of
an unyielding maple floor
as if it were sand. Stitched
across the instep.
when we were rushlike, baby
teeth, bent? All our doors
chalk bodies in the floor. Charm
bracelets without the charm
(though the sound still
licks the inside of your arm).
Have you ever been so ready
to be loosened
at the ankles?
I had a way
with sinew
back then. Ill as the apparatus
that birthed us, the hole
we tipped our tilled hats
to. Viola, my screaming
ribbon, keep the wax apple.
Let’s meet under that swamp
mahogany. Death will
only be as throatless
as we make it.

Red Milk

Two mornings in a row, I drink from a glass on my nightstand
and see a black spider struggling in the water.
What does this mean? I ask the room empty
of any other human heat.
I read recently that God gives bountiful gifts before tragedy arrives.
I’ve stopped cutting notches under my tongue like patterns
of lace. I’ve let sores seal. Surely this is not punishment?
Born in a womb of bent hangers, I have a sewer certainty, father’s
flintlock. I will be made by this grief. This throat throttled
watchdog I’ve been putting back together like jigsaw. Tongue
draining from his mouth like red milk.
What sort of animal will it take to replace him?
I am just an ordinary person: a cup full of spiders birthed from blue.

Caitlin Scarano

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 and the winner of the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Eduardo Corral. She has two poetry chapbooks: The White Dog Year (dancing girl press, 2015) and The Salt and Shadow Coiled (Zoo Cake Press, 2015).

Photo Credit: Christian Hendricks.