Why do some underwater creatures light up?

Caroline Cabrera

A woman reached her fingers beneathmy shoulder blade and pulled upthere issued a sounda soft coo or creaklike a door opening in another houseand from the space fellthe bone-tiny dovesthat fall from a cracked sand dollarI collected them in a bowland rinsed them of bloodwith the cloudy pink waterI painted a pictureof a cedar chestas seen from the insideI lay on the sofa imaginingmy coffinI thought still still stillI tried to lie foreverwarm blanketswarm watermy other shoulder bladeyet unbrokento imagine a warm ball of lighttraveling the length of my cold frameto become a beaconwarmth comes and goesfrom my naked headit shows itself on my facesunlight travels eight minutesto reach usthis is nothing to sneeze atinstead sneezewith no particular intentionpick a spot you likeand glow there

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Caroline Cabrera is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Saint X, winner of the Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. Her lyric essay collection, (lack begins as a tiny rumble) is forthcoming this winter from Tinderbox Editions. She teaches poetry workshops for children and adults through O, Miami and works as an early literacy specialist. She is founder and editor of Bloom Books and co-host of the arts and advice podcast Now that We’re Friends.

"The questions Caroline Cabrera asks have answers that are not answers, that are personal and not, intimate and not, shared and not, and all parts of 'our real concern.' The voice in Saint X is confident, vulnerable, wounded, doubtful, awed, courageous, and soft and kind and tough and honest and responsible. The voice says that our lives on this planet are ridiculous and remarkable and everything should be considered. Cabrera considers how mattering matters, what it's like to live as a thinking girl and a wise woman, how the answers are badly needed and impossible, and how 'A valley too likes to be held.' Cabrera says so much without saying so much. What' s difficult here becomes a flower seed, a need, which becomes a necessary bloom."
—Lesle Lewis

"Beginning with the question 'Do I / in bed in the/ dark matter?' and veering between star matter and flesh, Caroline Cabrera interrogates the surrealism of ontology, revealing insight into how displaced we can be as women and as people learning how we are of the world. In Saint X, Cabrera pulls us in from underwater or out of the heavens, and we are left gulping for air, grateful and unafraid."
—Carmen Giménez Smith

"Caroline Cabrera asks the universe’s impossible questions: what is dark matter? Do rogue waves exist? What is Earth’s hum? Answers come in the form of poems, swerving gorgeously between science and satire, play and pathos, dream and desire. Finally, these are poems of the body as the home of fears and pleasures, as the source of so much wonder. 'My field / of vision reaches only so / far but I think I see you / coming,' she writes, and I’m there. Converted."
—Julie Carr

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