Kerrin McCadden

She says, It’s my birthday. I’m going tomorrow.

What's your favorite font? What should I

have him write? Serifs, I say. I like serifs.

I like old typewriters, the keys little platters.

I don’t answer the question about what to write.

The vellum of her back. I am not her mother,

who later weeps at the words written between

her shoulders. I get ready to retract the idea of serifs,

the pennants that pull the eye from one word

forward, but the eye loves a serif. When we

handwrite, we stop to add them to I. Read this

word like typeface, make me always published,

I am always a text. Write this on your back,

I want to say. Write that you are a lyric

and flying – serifed, syntactical. Becca chooses

Make of my life a few wild stanzas. She lies

on the bed while the artist marks her back,

his needle the harrow for her sentence. Make of

my life a place to stand, stopping-places, a series

of rooms, stances, stare, stantia, stay. She has

shown him a bird she wants perched above the final

word, stanza. It is a barn swallow – ink blue flash.

He says, toward the end, so she can know it will hurt

to ink so much blue, I am filling in the stanza now,

and he stings her right shoulder again and again,

filling the room of the bird. Make of my life

a poem, she asks me and him and her mother

as she walks away, make of my life something

wild, she says. I watch her strike out across

Number 10 Pond, the tattoo flashing with each stroke

and there is barely enough time to read it.

Found In Volume 40, No. 03
Read Issue
  • 971
Kerrin McCadden
About the Author

Kerrin McCadden was a finalist for the 2010 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, a semi-finalist for the “Discovery”/Boston Review 2010 Poetry Contest and the 2009 RATTLE Poetry Prize and was nominated for Best New Poets 2010. She teaches Creative Writing at Montpelier High School and The New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf.