All My Exes Live in this Poem

by Caylin Capra-Thomas

We ditched you once for a big burrito. Then again
for smoked meat and AC. Skipped a date to sip
fishbowls at the mermaid bar, didn’t call back
for weeks. Compared your ass to the Rolling
Stones, you’re welcome, tried to use it to balance
a glass. Cut our foot on the broken window, bled
into the thread count while you pretended to sleep.
We catalogued each thing you said that you hated:
messy-faced kids and white chocolate, or hearing
our beefy hearts beat. Against our better judgment
we wrote letters from cold countries: Dear you, Still
alive? How’s your mother? Still strange? And you?
Still strange?
Received word on our thirty-first:
thirty-one cards that all said Fuck your birth.
If we failed to fight to keep you it was because
you were already lost. A sealike silence alive
at the center of you. It is you and it is more
brutal than you. Killer, it swallowed us all.  

Caylin Capra-Thomas’s second chapbook, Inside My Electric City, is available through YesYes Books. She is the winner of the 2018 Fairy Tale Review Award in Poetry, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, Pleiades, and Copper Nickel. The recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Studios of Key West, she lives in Idyllwild, California, where she is poet-in-residence at Idyllwild Arts Academy.