I cut open an avocado only to find it dappled
with rot. I eat it anyway. My father may have
had a disease. My anger may be the strongest
trait I have to pass on. Because my blood
burns, I decide not to have children. My father’s
father was full of copper. His son, a liver
textured with scarring. I ate it anyway.
I asked for guidance, not a leash and a collar.
I turn my belly inside out—its dappled
with eggs the color of buttercream. My hens
don’t know which are fertilized
and which aren’t. My mother lost her wedding
ring in vegetable garden dirt. I dig
out the rot. I say I decided
not to have children but no man
ever asked me. If each parent gives you
a defective gene, you can bake a cake
or crawl across the floor between buckets
of your blood. I dig but never find
the ring. I asked for a bedtime
story, not this legacy. Some hens sit on eggs
until they rot. Some men take hammers
to their wives. My lover yawns.
Of all the stories I could tell, I’ve learned
of all the stories you could tell. Her blood
burned. My mother made a red
velvet cake with buttercream frosting.
She ate the whole thing. She never told anyone
who believed her. He might have been
sick his whole broken bowl
of a life. I might find a golden ring
around my iris. I might not
be a creature versed in dirt. Anger,
like memory, takes away as much
as it provides. Some hens leave their eggs
where they land. Either way, we
follow. We gather. We eat them.
Caitlin Scarano is a poet based in northwest Washington. She holds a PhD in English (creative writing) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her debut collection of poems, Do Not Bring Him Water, was released in Fall 2017. She recently released a chapbook, Tending Fire, with visual artist, Megan Perra. Caitlin's work has appeared in Granta, Best New Poets, Best Small Fictions, Carve, and Colorado Review. You can find her at caitlinscarano.com