Caitlin Lorraine J

I have a MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence. My work has been featured in Bookforum, LA Review of Books, The Adroit Journal, The Leveler, and my essay in Critical Read was nominated for a Pushcart Prize this past year.

Examples of my writing and a full CV can be found at: caitlinlorrainejohnson.com

But here's one example for this space:

Strays

We disagree on timing.
You like the fullness of the moment
before a decision is made
when every possibility
is still available.

I have no attachment to that moment.

The pitbull in the backseat
takes no position
except the one closest to the person she can reach.
She attacks other dogs,
my fingers are bruised beneath the knuckles
from the effort of restraining
her violence.

She attacks what she recognizes as her own
and climbs into the lap
of whatever uncertain creature is not.

As she lowers a hesitant paw onto my thigh,
I glance over and notice
that you release your palm from the steering wheel
every few minutes,
as if your hand had cramped.
You ask, Aren’t things always better
before you know what they are either way?
I can’t even look at you.

We all know what you mean.

I can feel the full weight
of the pitbull resting on my thighs,
pressing me into the seat.
She looks up at me with such naked hunger.
For a moment, we are in this together.

Tomorrow,
you will wake up early,
make soft-scrambled eggs,
and pull a pair of thick woolen socks
over my sharp ankles,
so my “bones won’t get cold.”
Neither of us likes to disagree.

It’ll be less clear then than it is now:
with your dog resting heavily on my lap,
her muscles finally relaxed,
her breathing regular,
and your beautiful long hands,
clasping and unclasping the wheel.

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