Caroline Cabrera

My body is a mantra I say over and over

Live near the ocean long enough and it becomes
‘that big salt water puddle.’ I am still walking into
parking lots and seeing the mountains, still breathless
at them. What will mountains become in time?
Breath becomes a most important way to feel human
in stillness. I move inside my skin like one moves
into a forest. A forest tells you anything can be found.
I am working on children’s skills: moving my body
and feeling a part of it, saying yes and no. All my life
my body has moved and been taken up by other bodies,
other eyes and mouths that move to tell me what my
body says and wants. I am unlearning but still
other bodies read me and pretend to know.
Someone tells me, you walk like you’re on a runway.
I say, life is a runway and mean it.



From the Mountains

From the mountains I can see the other mountains.
I can call back to small children on a distant coast
and my voice will almost carry. The children play
in their underpants and read about sharks, ready
to recite everything if asked. Forever we talk
in the language of mountains. Traverse, summit,
etc. We find piles of poop and want to reverse
image search them for identification but instead
we make half-educated guesses.  Bear, bear, deer,
etc. Signs warn of calving elks and we see ten elk
from the highway, their large bodies grazing.
Water cuts through mountains, highways cut through
mountains. It seems as though a mountain is fragile,
can be cut away by anything. The mountain cuts
away a small part of my hand. On the summit,
an alien landscape. I squat down close and the ground
is a coral reef. I squint for water. A sign warns
of mountain lions, gives instructions for survival,
when everything is a game of chance. On the distant
coast my sister learns to cast a net for bait fish.
She is a calm and resourceful woman. She buys
fancy donuts on Saturdays. A mountain stands
in for any other mountain and becomes a repository
for my weary brain. A sign warns of active coyotes.
I beg for one to appear.


CAROLINE CABRERA is author of The Bicycle Year (H-NMG-N BKS), Flood Bloom (H-NGM-N BKS), and the chapbook Dear Sensitive Beard (dancing girl press). She lives in Denver and can be found online at