swan's bones

All writings by Caroline Myrick
(unless stated otherwise)


They are the blind and blissful, warm homes warm lovers—

Happiness comes free like a natural spring, clear and sweet, smooth over cold clay

In bedrooms lit with vanilla wax and wicks, they fornicate like skeletons. All the empty beauty rattling between their bones.

A life to live blanketed in a fungal mist. A life to live imagining each day is a gift.

A sickness or blessing, there is none to be had for me.


Once, the days were long and languid.
I baked him under trees, smelling the salt rise off his newly hardened skin.

The water was endless, warm as a palm from the surface to the thick coiling cold of the black garden bottom.

It is easy to love with the future a dark gaping hole.

What Saint To Call

Last night I felt your mother’s hair, damp, against my skin.
I had nightmares right beside you, cold winds rushing in. Still figures curled like serpents round the bed. Your back turned to me like a sweat-specked wall.

I try to pray sometimes because I am fearful of most things. The night is dark and I see faces mangled in the black.
Not yours or mine. No one’s. Only wicked swirling features I’ve forgotten from fever.


outside louisville a coyote dried flat on the shoulder, teeth ajar, fur matted with brown blood

I pressed my face against the window breathing in its stink.

the first day in five with no rain. all the sick sweet smells rise up from old winter.  

What sins I’ve sung

Last night I dreamed I found him on the beach, red sweater dripping, seaweed between his fingers. He was small, a foot or so, and I could tell him what I meant to.
In a van today that passed, a face looked out like his. I rolled my window down and waved with my eyes but the face was old like sand and he glimmered away, as always before.
Sometimes I still feel guilty for my harsh severing, my foul explanation. I fear what punishment I’ve conjured. What lies we’ve both told. Ages and ages ago.

Vitamin bead

When my father dragged me by my arms down the street. Nothing to shake. The dream has been done. I can feel my muscles twisted together like frightened roots. The cold is lonely like your lack of breath.

The Waiting

Everything is slow in the waiting. The dirty picture windows of my sad Congress deli trailed with crawling drops of melting snow.
I picture the skin of my mother. Harsh tan lines, soft and thin at some parts or supple like a young girl’s. I see my mother standing over me, bathing when I’m a child. Her soap runs down and I am engulfed by the warmth and herbal shampoo.
I see the sickness in my mother. What might be growing in the tissue of her motherly breasts.
I pull the dark mass out with the power of my lungs. I bless her cells, her bones.

Our kind is wild as the deathless vines you’ve cultivated. As endless as the shipwrecked glass of Superior.

But oh, how each day is such pain in the waiting.