Two Poems by Cassandra de Alba

when i say childhood i mean

anticipation without 
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,
taking hold.






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.