The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Iguana Iguana by Caylin Capra-Thomas

This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Iguana Iguana by Caylin Capra-Thomas, released by Deep Vellum in 2022.


So many girls are trying to tell you this:
the line between the hurt body and the body

that hurts is razor-thin and traversable
like the trail we carved into the mountain

to climb beyond the snow line and slip off.
Pain, the happening. Pain, the procedure.

Firewood is not the tree’s submission
but the consequence of being rooted.

One place will cut you down. Girls,
this is not forever. We are not forever,

but we will forever have been here.
Clear-eyed and cross-legged

in the crosscut clearing. Plain-toothed.
Champion-toothed. The woodsman

who walks the forest whistles grateful
tunes to tall specters who arrive

only in the shape of absence, apparition
of light on the needled ground

which once knew only shadow.

Caylin Capra-Thomas is the author of Iguana Iguana (Deep Vellum), as well as the chapbook Inside My Electric City (YesYes Books), and her poems and nonfiction have appeared in venues like Pleiades, Copper Nickel, New England Review, 32 Poems, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Studios of Key West, she was the 2018-2020 poet-in-residence at Idyllwild Arts Academy. She lives in Columbia, Missouri, where she studies nonfiction, poetry, and ecocriticism in Mizzou’s PhD program, but she calls New England home.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly ReviewCream City ReviewSouth Dakota Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference. 

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