Caylin Capra-Thomas


A diminishing presence
of god & god-figures. Weak

sun. After dusk, the porch light,
only. All the reaching

creatures, limbed & rooted
or crawling, clawing

up the porch steps. Snuffling,
searching for scraps. Fur
matted with unknown

blood. Holes
torn into ears. A knocking

of spoons against tin cups,
Come, little ones, & be fed.
An island of breathing

in the purring dark. Hunger
& hunger & nightshade

& bloom.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

I was born a castoff
desire: what goes up

must be devoured.

I heard the mothers
call me trash. Beyond

me lay some other
me: a supine body

in the summer heat.
My daddy

was a coal miner: lamp
stink & black
lung & Momma

was a matchstick redhead
from Sulphur, Louisiana.

I became, I was struck

like gold or an insolent
cheek. I licked

into the maze & now
my tongue

burns & my tongue burns
& my tongue
burns every hour, every
day. Hungry,

I open my mouth.


     Centralia, Pennsylvania

All I know about love
is the small opening

in my stomach
when Molly Maguire

applies her chapstick
during Sunday school

or mops orange grease
from her lips

at Sweet Pizzz’s Pizza.
The pies there come out

hotter that hell.
I ask Gran why I can’t

have a few extra bucks
to get a slice & she

tells me I’m lucky to live
above the ground.

Was a time boys younger
than you went down

those mines with nothing
but a canary for company

& guess what happened
to the canaries?

In Sunday school they said
the world would end in fire.

Today in Gran’s backyard
the trees are birdless.


Caylin Capra-Thomas is the author of a chapbook, The Marilyn Letters, available through dancing girl press. Her work has appeared in journals such as Sixth Finch, Phoebe, and Thin Air Magazine. She lives in Missoula, Montana, where she is pursuing an MFA.