CAROLINE CABRERA

Vow


I would never make a picture of your eye into fabric
and clothe tiny women in your gold green scatter-shot.
I would not sell you for a hotel or anything else.
Nor could you fall from my wardrobe door.
If you find yourself sleep-running in the woods
outside Moscow, you will know I had nothing
to do with it. You will need to make your way back
safely into the city. My best advice is say nothing.
You will haunt people with your brokenness
and they will let all manner of social sins
go unnoticed. If you smell of urine, it is likely
your own. Do not worry about when you soiled
yourself, or how, the hard truth is, you did.
Shame is not an option in survival times. Move
towards a center. Move towards a neatly made bed.
You will have to learn to live with or without
memories. I would never laugh at you, abandoned
and piss-stained. I would never even be there.
 



September 12, 2013


Not two ships passing
in the night
but two ships treading endlessly
in the same tired direction
an adventure can only take so long
before it feels a sad inevitable death
a long goodbye
like when my teacher said
all anyone can give you
is more loss

when Voyager 1 reached
the heliosphere
we had more time
than we thought
it was like planning to break up
with someone in a few months
and in those few months
appreciating them again
I know interstellar space
was always the goal
but I can’t stop thinking
of Voyager turning one last time
to photograph the earth
and then going dark
can’t stop listening to the sounds
it heard as it finally left
solar divide is a beautiful thing
to get to say now
and Voyager II still navigates
the plasma field
but something is lost
something that seemed overhead
my whole life
and if you and I, friend
walk too long in different directions
what happens
how far do we travel
before we turn back
for one last glance
and go dark
the Voyagers hold
a magic golden thing
it is literally gold
and on them is a woman in love
and Carl Sagan alive
and everything good in the world
and, as Srikanth reminds us,
Esperanto
which seems a joke now
a fool’s pursuit
but the record is proof
we were once both brilliant
and startlingly romantic
we once had a best self
and we sent it out towards
anyone or thing that might exist
I know it might still find
someone or something
but I am not ready yet
to let that picture
of us
go
 



Litmus Test


When I say shag carpet
do you think recipe for flames?
Do you think pink watermelon vomit?
No? You are not my sibling.
You are not in 1989
putting baby Jesus in the manger
or singing O Come O Come
Emanuel
. I am sorry to disappoint
but my family is as full
as my schedule, which is to say
BACK OFF! Today I am grading papers
and tomorrow I am grading papers
but Friday I will read the Norton
Anthology
and try not to get frustrated
by all the white penises inside,
so there’s something to look
forward to. Yeats said some things
and Donne said some things
and Queen Elizabeth said everything—
literally everything a woman could
say then—and all are worth
remembering, but I’d rather
write an essay about space
or watch a baseball movie
with my husband. The most
difficult part of life is living
with the choices you’ve made
that tether you to some
unhappiness and second
is learning how not to remake
them. My husband is leaving
boats behind and there is joy
in that but fear also.

 

Caroline Cabrera is the author of FLOOD BLOOM (H-NGM-N BKS, 2013) and the chapbook, DEAR SENSITIVE BEARD (dancing girl press, 2012). Her second full length collection, THE BICYCLE YEAR, is forthcoming from H-NGM-N BKS.

 

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