After the storm I mimic my pre-storm self.
I try not to break my ankle and I try not
to get murdered, with only a sliver
of moon as my guide. I coax my body
away from the edge of fever. I tell it to sleep.
I tell myself to think and form words
and to plan for tomorrow. I am subsisting
on the promise of future cheese
which is, I suppose, a way of returning
to self. The academic calendar brings
all the old feelings. The need for chainsaw
sharing brings the neighbors together
and for the coming week people wave
at me when I jog past them
and ask me about the status of my home
when they draw my blood or ring up
my groceries. A man nearly backs into
the security guard at a parking garage.
She is not looking but I yell out to her
and she jumps away. We each move
in tandem to squeeze the other’s shoulder,
so happy are we that she has not been crushed,
so united are we in this new understanding
of our position as inhabitants of a coming
underworld. We need to stick together
or something. We need to crawl out.
A woman on the internet imagines a future
where our features can be removed
and redrawn to our liking. She imagines
the in-between stage as a completely
featureless face. I am horrified by the image
but mostly I am impressed that she
is still able to imagine a future. I contemplate
less impactful ways to disappear into a forest.
I am giving myself a little wooden anniversary.
I dig deeper into the part of me made sad
by certain music and listen exclusively to those songs.
It is an autumnal way to live. A turning, a tuning.
Caroline Cabrera is the author of Saint X, winner of the Hudson prize and forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in January 2018. Her previous collections are The Bicycle Year and Flood Bloom. She is editor of Bloom Books from Jellyfish Magazine and teaches with two nonprofits, Innovations for Learning and the O, Miami Poetry Foundation. She lives in Fort Lauderdale.
Sarah Malakoff’s large-scale color photographs are examinations of the home as both a refuge from and at times a re-creation of the outside world. She has had solo exhibitions at Camerawork Gallery in Portland, Oregon; Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts; The Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, Vermont; the Sol Mednick Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts; and Plane Space in New York, New York. She received 2001 and 2011 Fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a 2011 Fellowship from the SMFA, Boston. A monograph, Sarah Malakoff: Second Nature, was published by Charta Art Books in 2013. She is an Assistant Professor at UMass Dartmouth and her work can be seen at www.sarahmalakoff.com.