It’s the Midwesterner in me—to love Maine,
as the good beings of Saturn love Mars.
Consider pines demure with fog, profiles bent in prayer.

I am pious enough. Then, too, I am savage enough for a main
course of corpses, scarlet as the cheek of Mars,
so long as I am not the one to catch, to kill, to prey

upon. I have never been to Maine.
It makes no difference; I mourn bark marred
by white pine blister rust. Somewhere, despite their prayers,

a child’s favorite tree is dying. I have never been to Maine.
It makes no difference; Saturnians talk of dust storms on Mars—
furrow their brows, lower their eyes, mutter a prayer.


Object Permanence
after Klimt’s Two Studies of a Seated Nude with Long Hair

He thinks of wind as he traces

the lyric of her hair. And, ambling

up her arm, he remembers that last

torrential rain—his oak tree

mutilated. His oak remembers that last

torrential rain—the heft of each limb lost.


She listens to the southeasterly wind

as he rails against the iron smolder

of arthritis in his joints. He wouldn’t

believe it, but she fantasizes about

singed fingertips, cracked thumbnails,

bruise-jaded knuckles—all those

commonplace tortures.


He thinks of bird’s nests when

he discovers her feet. He reassures himself

that someone somewhere must have

written a poem about robin’s eggs. It would

not be his burden, then, to preserve every

pretty, doomed impermanence.


A bird’s nest unspools in the back

of her throat. She has never once

asked him for a glass of water. For one

thing, it is sacred: silence—pretty,

doomed impermanence. For another,

she is waiting to see what will hatch from her.



He thinks of burning the damn thing 

as she tiptoes toward the door. He waited 

for this clear, singing light all morning, all 

winter, a lifetime. And it is nothing less than

ossified—colder than the hum of blood 

beneath her skin, colder, even,

than the plot of white sheet gulleyed by

the twin imprints of her legs. How long

will this sheet remember the heat of her? 


She burns like incense in this light. The way

she does it, to stand is to bless each vertebra

one by one, to serenade every silken muscle.

She is a waterfall moving in reverse. The

only thing 

to be regretted is that she cannot watch her

heart pumping. Her first instinct, always, is

to maroon her clothes, to move 

through the world nude. With long hair.



Biographical Note: Caroline Taylor is currently an undergraduate at Truman State University. She is pursuing degrees in creative writing and communication. She serves as the poetry editor for Truman State’s literary magazine. Her work has appeared previously in WindfallThe Scarlet Leaf Review, and The Rising Phoenix Review.