The Boar I Bled

— 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.

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