The Boar I Bled

Poetry / Caitlin Scarano

During the rawest year, I live inside the ribcage of an elk, eat fish from a jar and drink stale snow I saved

from the winter before. I don’t make notches
in trees. I do not believe the moon follows me. In the fall, a boy

rides by on his best stick horse. He’s coming from a war and has white knight inclinations but I smell

of wood smoke and lye and don’t even own an ivory dress. I do not braid my hair or sing to misty-eyed animals at the window.

I don’t even have a window.

I drained the gentleness from myself as if bleeding a boar. Instead of saving each other, me and the boy get drunk

on sour dandelion wine and stories of our fathers. We marvel at sounds but rarely speak a common language.

When the fire lowers to nothing but embers, he whistles
& he and the night and the bodiless horse are gone. I count

the places he found on me, my body smoldering, my hunger renewed and thrashing.

In the morning, I try turning myself inside out
but he hasn’t left any grape seeds or sons behind. Listen:

you don’t need something to remember someone by. The sky can cut open her own underbelly and snow will follow.

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). Her recent work can be found in Granta, Crazyhorse, and Ninth Letter.