Poetry: Caitlin Bailey


Shaky hands, costal bang. Blood poured from
a hole, repatriated to heart. Compensation is
an ugly word, creased skin pulled from an orange.
I gather small fish in a cup, my finger lightning
rod, little wobble. The room begins to smell
like juniper, dull coins. Stillness comes
in a thing like you, curled at my waist.
What I’ll do to protect this splendor.
I open like a lock, love the sturdiest verb.


Blood Garden

You are five and wicked with need. A dandelion
seed blown through the house. The grandmother
closet, change deep in the belly, the dress.
You colonize the too-big shoes, easy ingénue.
Thirsty at the top of the stairs, lapping
sugar water, silky tongued and brave until

one shoe catches the other, the smell of olives,
the way down. And so tumble two stairs, crush
glass beneath your body to slice the soft meat
of your fist open, a hush unraveled in red
across the carpet. Your skin a white flap,
a red plane. To you blood is a garden
where your future is sown, the red arc
a bright harbinger of so many wounds.


All rights reserved to Caitlin Bailey

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