Join us for a celebration of recent publications by poets Dawn Tefft & Caitlin Scarano!
Dawn Tefft's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Fence, Denver Quarterly, Witness, Sentence and H_ngm_n. She is the author of Fist (Dancing Girl Press), The Walking Dead: A Lyric (Finishing Line Press), and Field Trip to My Mother and Other Exotic Locations (Mudlark). You can find some of her nonfiction at PopMatters, Truthout, and Woodland Pattern's blog. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from UW-Milwaukee and works as a higher ed union organizer in Chicago.
Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was the winner of the2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, Conium Review's 2015 Flash Fiction Contest, and a finalist for the 2016 DISQUIET Literary Prize in Poetry. 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.
When Your Brother, Who Is in Jail Again
when your brother calls to say his fists are turning into thieves
and your niece is a sweet collection of thrushes and wrens
you should take notes so that you can understand the curve
of his reasoning
you must accept that indeed you come from a long line of wounds
return to your village and open up The Book of the Mumbling Dead
your last good way of saying your name without it hurting
your name: all the flowers that are edible
after all you come from a line of chefs
open to the page lined with
there are always
already and only
three true outcomes:
the fox to the hare, the splinter to the sea, and the unsure thing
eventually you will understand the voices of the sand in the rocks
and theorize houses as an attraction of bricks
there are so many things that don't make sense
like the timid girls wandering onto the private beach
like your body, irresolute and shaped by food
if you can accept your deceased
pulling their chairs up to your table to eat
if you can accept the rain as just another pattern happening
you can begin to indent your belief
after all you come from the sea
—Dawn Tefft, first published in BlazeVOX
The Boar I Bled
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 dresses. 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.