Caylin Capra-Thomas


I am a closed door. That’s how I want
to start, at the end because, like Lish
said once of a plotted flirtation, that’s not really
a conversation opener, you know? I’m so tired
of conversing, though I feel I haven’t spoken
in years. People see me and assume—
I don’t know what. I used to wonder
and for a while I thought I knew.
Then I changed—kind of. My surface,
my situation. I don’t know what people
see anymore. Some lady, frowning
at cans of soup in the market. Glasses
we’ll laugh at in a few years. I wanted
to tell you how I’ve grown quiet
through all this talking. How I stopped
trying to know myself or be known.
I used to want to feel everything.
Now I just want to feel good.
It doesn’t matter. Wanting—
it doesn’t change. I leave the door
cracked so my dog can come
and go as she pleases. Her life
a series of pleasures and starts.
And then the flies arrive, driven
by desire for our crumbs. I paste
sticky paper to the windows
to punish them for living
the way I have always lived.
Together, we will dry into husks
of ourselves, every now and then
buzzing, remembering we’re alive
as the doors close, as we become
something closed in, closing.


Oh, but I am muscular. I cannot be ridden long.
I, hippo. I, walrus. I elk, moose, whale. I fight

but don’t see red. I push through roughly.
I do not deceive! I couple—oh, joy of becoming!

Horn, antler, tusk. Musk. Thrust. Too much?
What does my life mean? I never think about it.

I buck and snort. Air hot through my nostrils—
this being! I am glad. It matters. I am glad!


Biographical Statement
Caylin Capra-Thomas is the author of Iguana Iguana, available now through Deep Vellum, as well as the chapbook Inside My Electric City, available from YesYes Books. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Studios of Key West, and her poems have appeared in journals including New England Review, Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She was the 2018-2020 Poet-in-Residence at Idyllwild Arts Academy and now lives in Columbia, Missouri, where she is a PhD student in English and creative writing.