Poetry by Caroline Cabrera

“My mother, she hung a crucifix. Together we said a rosary. The devil retreated.”

from SAINT X


[I was a child and you were a child once, too. Our parents prayed the devil away. I
dreamed the devil was in my closet. The next night, at the foot of my bed. My
mother, she hung a crucifix. Together we said a rosary. The devil retreated. I
dreamed, too, a man was following me. In waking life, he slowed his van, took a
photograph while I cartwheeled in the front yard. I knew to run inside. Later, he
would holler at me on streets, corner me at parties. I could not learn him away
from me. Could learn my legs covered, my blonde hair un-bobbed. I could not
learn enough the danger that I was, a girl, a pretty girl. I don’t know whether to
blame his body or his god.]




[A log has decomposed my whole life. It breaks down into the richest soil. Any of
my siblings would know this log without direction or description.

I saw a special about an artist who took a large section of felled tree, with its
surrounding flora and fauna, and relocated it all to a greenhouse. It will
decompose over time, change every day—will continue to live on, far past the
artist’s intention. Younger, I found this fascinating. Older, I wonder at the
audacity of applying your signature to a piece of forest.

I wonder at man pointing and making assignations. You say to move something is
to change it. That the world can be re-naturalized. I wonder, now, where I fall.

Like my mother I cannot stand to have my arms or legs pinned. I flail with
disregard. My mother says we were buried alive in a former life.

I have been buried in this life. I have bit at the lip of a man I wanted to stab. Have
dressed hatred up as lust to suit him. Have paled at my own squeamish incapacity
to kill what needs killing.]


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