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.


I always want to start with, it wasn’t—it wasn’t
this, but this. It wasn’t like that. The girl,
not the gown. The gall, not the girl.
It wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t like that. The past,
not the moment. The tongue, not the twister.
The orange, not the pith, the oblivion,
not the forgotten thing. It was green,
but not like tarnished copper. It was green,
like light underwater. Like water with light
going through it: green, like the algae, not
the water, like the thing between her teeth,
not the back tooth in need of a root canal.
How do I show you? No, not you—you?
The web, not the spider, the twister, not her
farmhouse dinner. Green light, green sky.
The acid, not the rain. The moon, not
the lunatic river. I wasn’t like that. I’m not
what you’re thinking. Green light, baby.
Not me, not the gone thing, glinting.

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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