Instructions for the Twenty-Seventh Year

There is always a crowd against

my skin, aroused & armed


with a gray teeth glisten.

Blandness we fight to dress


and undress. Was it the man

or the muse that caught me


by the roots of my unwashed hair?

My God I will never I will


name my fears again & again. Snow

and stains that can’t be swallowed.


Why am I always so eager to lick

the throat of anger? Why aspire


to a treble of ghosts? Matchbox

triptych: a parrot with human


teeth, a man with a mouthful of blue

rubies, and a faceless child drinking


from a river running backwards.

Isn’t it all instruction? Sweetness


sleeps so close to viciousness.

I only want you, lover,


to obey.

Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. Her recent poetry is forthcoming or can be found in Chattahoochee Review, Muzzle Magazine, Word Riot, and Five Quarterly. Her first chapbook, The White Dog Year, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press (2015).

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