What only children know: bread
soaked in warm milk until gummy, chinking teeth
in a drawer that reeks of cedar, of mother, of the parts
of her body we haven’t seen
in years, small places, hidey holes, the home under the church
pew, all shoes and ashy ankles, taste his heel (sour like grapes or
blistered backwater), grandmother’s apple butter? knees
stained with grass, tin choked
tulips, smiling crucibles,
mouthing mammal, no, doorknob,
no, mammal, all the while pounding
out (this is a duet, mind you) “Heart
and Soul” on the ivory keys of the belt buckle
that holds up his belly, holds in his heart, intestines,
his coils of black matter I’ve memorized.
Girls. All of them stinking
of silence. The world we made, nothing but crumbs
and corners now. White trash, primer, black paint sealed windows.
My mother whispering into the phone, a eye-lidless man and his
serrated pocket watch at the door. Knocking, knocking.
We’re crouching, crouching between bedposts and laugh
lines like live wires. The walls were raining ashtrays. The baseball
bat, the hammer yearning to swing, to sing
for a human head.
by Caitlin Scarano
Caitlin Scarano is an incoming poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She is the recent winner of the A Room of Her Own Foundation's Spring 2014 Orlando Prize for Flash Fiction. Her work is forthcoming in Banango Street and Indiana Review.