when i say childhood i mean
its opposite: christmas lights
blurring in the trees
above a backseat window,
downtown and it’s winter
perfect, snow heaped
on the sidewalks but not
in the streets, and i have never
heard of car wrecks, i have never
seen anything die or imagined
that one day i might have to,
i am imagining thanksgiving,
and after that hanukkah,
and christmas, and a new year
opening up before me
like a paper lantern,
like a balloon that doesn’t pop,
like the top of a mountain in fall
when the leaves explode across the hills
and the pines stand tall and deep-scented
and ancient, ambassadors of all
that still works about the world,
all that survives.
safety as a room i’ve never been inside
safety as a woodpaneled room built into a hill
safety as the heat on, no bulbs burned out,
the snow outside crisp and silent.
safety as record crackle mixed with fireplace
pop and hiss, a soft carpet, a long low couch.
safety as muted lights, no shadows in the corners.
a potted plant dripping leaves onto a lazy cat.
posters yellowed but not crumbling,
a yellow light filling the room,
a yellow warmth expanding from your head
to your fingertips, ballooning and electric,
Cassandra de Alba’s work has appeared in Red Lightbulbs, Illuminati Girl Gang, NAP, and Drunken Boat, among others. She lives in Massachusetts with two Emilys and a cat named Roger Mindfucker.