Caligula in the Dormers
Thomas Kane

The chaste girls sharpen their

teeth.       (They      are     post-

traumatic when they sharpen

their teeth.)


*        *        *        *        *        *    


Once   separated,  the   dancer

unloves  his  shoes.  They  are,

to  him,  dust  and  from  dust,

bread.  He thinks: The  mill  is

bread  and  the  mill’s  rain  is

bread also.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


And so  we  do  not  forget  how

(and   how!)   the  chaste  girls

cull    the   animal   from   the



*        *        *        *        *        *    


As  the  fish survived the first

bad  news but  not  the age  of

sails.    How   we    longed   for

their gills. My  parasol  for  a

gill!   The  third  perch, a  gift

for our mothers. The third set

of scales,  a gift  for our boots.

To  imagine!  To  imagine the

restraint  God  once  asked  of

our hands!


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The  chaste  girls each have a

rock,  a  taffeta  gown to  keep

their secrets.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


A tender tangle,  how we rifle

the pocket of  every dying. As

Gericault  at  the sanitarium:

Byron hated his horse. Byron

also       found       his      horse

irresistible.     And    yes!     A

dinner   hat   folded  into   the

pocket.  Although   a   freckle,

imagined  resting,  imperfect,

in the fold.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The chaste  girls are  fierce in

their hatred of  the wet nurse.

They rush  and  rush  to  grow

nearer their finger cut gloves.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


If  a  child  came from  me, we

would    know   what    of    my

father   stayed   put:   Cat  gut

pulled  to fit around the pegs?

Breath    enough   to   meet   a



*        *        *        *        *        *    


And  I  remember,  if   a  child

came from me,   I would  be as

Robert Frost  would  today  be

good    police.   His   chin   and

blue  suit!  He  takes his lunch

in  the  penny arcade,  among

the   fountains   in  the  penny



*        *        *        *        *        *    


For us, nothing is ruined. The

chaste   girls   are   not   fixed.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


In a moment,  we will  give up

what about  us  is mechanical.

But   for  now,   we  are   busy,

busy  as   planets.   It  is  Lent.

Everything  is  our hands. We

do not drink the river because

we have bled in it.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The chaste  girls pry  the roof.

There    is    a   little   princess

under the shingles.  How they

read  the book of  songs  is how

she  washes in  the dark  (by a

guess whistled by a wren).


*        *        *        *        *        *    


Asylum  for   Shirley  Temple!

She    was   found   inside    her

Sunday     shoes     inside    the

parade. When  she danced, we

almost   did   not    notice  how

badly    she     needed    a   new

career,  a  hot water bottle for

her tired skin.


*        *        *        *        *        *    


The   chaste  girls   are  never

pleuritic.          They          are

sometimes    fed   from   their

mothers’ mouths.