The Artist’s Daughter, With a Parakeet

 

I prefer taffeta.

I prefer the sticky color of apricots.

I prefer weimaraners

wrapped in large dopey bows

or dressed like saloon girls

with low necklines, their weimaraner

counterparts gambling. Sad dogs

have perfect poker faces. Or

I like them dressed like farmers—

grey-nosed American Gothic.

 

Farmers are all right,

but I prefer a logger.

I like to wear his flannels around

the house with the windows wide

open and nothing underneath.

I like to spill things

and wipe them up with paper

towels and throw the paper

towels in the trash can—not

the recycling bin.

 

He’s not a bad man,

but I’m leaving my logger.

 

I met a new one.

I showed him my diagram

of petrified wood, and he said

he’s been thinking about trees, too.

 

No, that wasn’t a logger.

That was my husband.

And he bought me a weimaraner.

(I prefer string cheese.)

He gave me half a baby.

I told him

Morisot was a bad mother

for making that girl pose with that

bird.  I lost the whole baby.

 

When I am pregnant

I will eat lots of leafy greens

to build your grey matter.

I will take long baths,

and not empty the litter box.

When I am pregnant I will paint

my womb

like a modernist Dutch interior,

and my belly will round itself

with the soft sphericity of a pearl.


And when you are born I

will communicate my milk to you.

I will communicate bath water

onto your belly and the crease

in your baby neck. I will communicate

a kiss onto your brow. Goodnight

room, goodnight

moon, goodnight

cow jumping over the

moon.  I prefer piglets suckling

with their clean pink snouts,

searching for nipples.

I prefer the runt of the litter.

 

I am not a rabbit

in a rocking chair, knitting.

Knitting is just tying

a series of knots. 

I am building you

a tower of words.


Brandy Boy

 

Hello, love, this is a dream


and I am making a salad just like all the others.


This salad is not our country and you are not


my tender little tomato.  In this dream, I make you


leave me.  I turn our town


into an ice age and our priest into a beautiful young boy


and I make him fall in love with me.


I have to tell you about it.  You won’t let me not.


Dreaming turns me into a horrible girl.


One who gives birth to foxes.  And every little


fox cub can die because I don’t know what to call them.


They will never die.  They will fatten up and steal chickens


from our neighbors’ houses.  I want pet chickens


like you want to hold a rabbit.  I want to make a salad


like you want me to drown you.  Or should I say holds under?


My hands are filled with mesclun greens. 


My teeth drip beet juice. 


________________________________________


Caroline Cabrera is an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass-Amherst where she also teaches writing. She is managing editor of Slope Editions. Her poems appear in Jellyfish and H_NGM_N. Her chapbook, Dear Sensitive Beard, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.