Surface Tension


for Christopher

Yes, they all seem to go that way.

Even the ones about sunlight, about my daughter,
they morph, antlers sprouting
from her golden head, the whole thing
turned rangiferine, snow on the ground,
then blood on the snow,

then snow sunk back into the earth
and gone. I can’t keep the world
off the page and the world—

This is the part of the poem
where we take refuge
in a small, still image from nature
to show that there is
still beauty to be found.

The joy of a loon
on a cloudless lake.
The joy of watching it.
The chick resting on its back,
the red jewel of its strange eye.
The child slaves
mining cobalt in the Congo
to build the batteries
inside electric cars.

Their fuliginous lungs for our blue sky.

My daughter,
her fleet hooves over permafrost
grown soft and gassy.
She falters. Save us.


Caitlin Gildrien

Caitlin Gildrien is a writer, graphic designer, and erstwhile farmer living at the feet of the Green Mountains of Vermont. Her work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from The Rumpus, Intima, Rise Up Review, and Poets Reading the News; it has also appeared on a bus stop and café window during Montpelier’s annual PoemCity celebration. Find her at cattailcreative.com.