© Michael Gillan Maxwell

Poetry No. 14 – Cara Armstrong

Blood is Salty
By Cara Armstrong

The last time I saw a family member wear our family tartan was when my dad wore a scarf my mom had made for him the first year they were married and in 10 days, he’ll be dead 16 years. It’s been awhile. She couldn’t actually find the right pattern so she got Black Watch and added red yarn fringe on the ends. Close enough. Maybe the original was a rip-off anyways. I imagine some sheep’s intestine flopped on to torn highland cloth, crisscrossing into greens, blues, and blacks and someone thinking, hey, let’s warp in a line of red, that’ll look good and behold, my family plaid, woven out of a dead man’s kilt and haggis castoffs. There’s a lovely dish. Nothing like minced sheep heart, liver and lungs mixed with oats and boiled in a stomach to get you going. Lip smacking. Larousse Gastronomique says, “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavor.” We may not come from a line of culinary wunderkinds, but we’re survivors, hovering on the border. Invictus maneo—our clan motto—I remain unconquered. Blood is salty and we like the taste of it.



Cara Armstrong is the Director of the School of Architecture + Art at Norwich University in Northfield, VT. She has an MFA in Poetry from Drew University.


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Michael Gillan Maxwell makes images and writes in the Finger Lakes of New York state. The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction For Beginners, a hybrid book of art and poetry, was published by Unknown Press in 2015. Prone to random outbursts, he can be found ranting and raving on his website: michaelgillanmaxwell.com