Caylin Capra Thomas
I Am Not a Dream
Yvonne George, 1896-1930
I ring like a clock, out, out & in
bellows, out, I sing, & Robert writes
poems about me. I cough & speckle
the stage with bright little blood stars
& Robert calls me l’étoile.
He goes to sleep in the back room
to dream my teeth into charming objects.
Breton’s Nadja died in a sanitarium.
(She was not Breton’s.)
I will die in a hotel. Walls
are walls, cheri. We are strange
birds in a cage on fire. Who will remember
us beyond those we ignite?
In the night, there are my lungs
bloodied by millions & millions
of breaths. There is the dark drapery
of opium. Ribbons of song. My teeth
are flowers made of glass.
Robert can’t see how a woman can be more
than a muse, more than a velvet silhouette to prick
In the night, there is me,
& in the day as well, & all the porcelain hours
between, but he only knows the between
of worlds. More than real, they call it,
& he their prophet, but my songs don’t arrive
in sleep. They fly out—
out from me, jittery & electric, & the world
passes, & I keep my eyes
The town was covered in houses like a body of scaling bandages,
gluey and obscene.
We set ours on a hill.
Spread the beds with chenille, avoided the rustling
of neighbors. We painted our eyelashes
the townspeople wagged their tongues, steepling
them towards that apron of blue light,
an abattoir of unanswerables:
I don’t believe we’ve met.
and we buttered ourselves against each other, the “good fat,”
the bad apples, we sliced into them,
rife with worms, we didn’t care,
we grew guttural
and older. We escaped cultivation. We flannelled
our necks, necked, let our hair grow
wilding, spotted ourselves
in ourselves less and less frequently.
Some days we stepped from the ether of each other into the skinned mink
of others, their boudoirs lamp-lit and gauzy with moving shadow.
We loved them, somehow. We returned to each other new.
CAYLIN CAPRA-THOMAS is the author of a chapbook, The Marilyn Letters (dancing girl press 2013) and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Bat City Review, Sixth Finch, Phoebe, alice blue review, The Boiler, and Tinderbox. She lives in Missoula, Montana, where she's pursuing an MFA and serving as a poetry editor for CutBank.