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
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
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.
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.