After I pull out each strand of hair on her head, what will remain of the doll's femininity, her safeguard of hair and skin? Swan-like neck. Sexless and smooth between the legs like the best of playthings. As a child, I hid beneath a network of beds and branches unable to name what plagued me. I had no brothers, only a mind of barking dogs. Now I have no sons, only seedless soil and my mother's stomach of window glass. Press your ear to the water. We are whichever landscape will have us. Come to like a hunter in a chorus of bleeding trees. I ask for forgiveness but I intend to eat. I intend to eat. It was hunger that pulled me from the howling house, through the cornfield's rot, to the city with her many rows of teeth and exposed skull. The great lake sleeps — a blade beneath a sleeve of winter. Glistens when revealed. Press your ear to the water. Make my mouth a muscle, ripest on my body. This cluster of holes the doll cannot escape through.
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). This winter, she will be an artist in residence at the Hinge Arts Residency program in Fergus Falls and the Artsmith's 2016 Artist Residency on Orcas Island.