Twenty Years

by Caitlin Scarano

The sarabande lilies
you gave me open
toward the kitchen
window. I will make us
breakfast this morning: corn
grits, bacon, eggs
with the raspberry
tart cheese you bought.
I will write as November
sneaks her fingers
into the house. While you
run along the Milwaukee
River. Polluted, still
moving. Old men
from the west side
cast long lines
into the water and I don’t
ask you if you believe
they catch anything.
Yeats, not long before
his death,
said that after
a person dies
they are in a half-
conscious state
like the period
between waking
and dreaming.
The five blossoms
of the lilies unfurl
while the leaves
turn gold and come
off easily when I pull.
Sacrificing organs
for vanity’s face.
When asked how long
this half-conscious
state would last,
Yeats replied, Perhaps
some twenty years.

CAITLIN SCARANO is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was a finalist for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and the winner of the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Eduardo Corral. She has two poetry chapbooks: The White Dog Year (dancing girl press, 2015) and The Salt and Shadow Coiled (Zoo Cake Press, 2015). This winter, she will be an artist in residence at the Hinge Arts Residency program in Fergus Falls and the Artsmith’s 2016 Artist Residency on Orcas Island.