Caroline Cabrera

Lack begins as a tiny rumble.

I was born and from me issued a loud cry. I was smacked and quieted. I was born with a head-full but the dark shock fell out. What regrew emerged pale, like cankered wheat.

I was born and my mother named me.


With her body a mother makes a world. It is a very small planet.

On this planet the main crop is childfruit and the other crops serve only to feed it.

For a while I worried I had absorbed my twin in the womb but I have no twin. I have only soft tissue, pushing on my nerves. Soreness from bruised ribs. I dreamed new arms would emerge from me. I dreamed a cat with bat-like wings. In birth I was turned out. I wanted to swallow the world down and bury it in me. This would be a reverse-birth. A coming into possession.


I have no twin. I have no twin. I have only the way I am and the way I look in photographs.

Now my hair lightens in sun while my skin darkens. Slowly I become monochrome, shake the etch-a-sketch and my features disappear into blur.  (In my mind, my features always blur).

A woman’s mouth makes many shapes but most of them usher forth nothing. A woman mouths help me on the television and people smile at hear and cheer. She mouths help me and people photograph her periled limbs.

I have no twin except that as women we are erased into twinhood. Your life is mine or could be. As woman I am twin, I am witch.


I thought I was born clean. I thought nothing bloomed in me. Now I know the womb is not sterile. The womb is a world. Our first act is one of emigration.


The dosha quiz asks me to think about my body over time. I am meant to understand the real me, to ignore anything that may just be a phase. I remember when I was younger and sleep was my super power. Now I cannot sleep through the night. I wake and drink and pee and drink and pee like my body is the cooling system on a nuclear reactor. I want to believe this is a phase but this phase perpetuates.

My teacher tells me to try self-massage. She says, it’s a very sweet act.

I want to be sweet. I want to be like a good marmalade, sweet but full of tangy ribbons of peel that sit lightly on the tongue. I want to be sweet but not colorless. Not formless.

I was born into an idea. I was born into a language I did not own. A language that erases me to lack.

I was born hot flesh and when I die I want my flesh to resonate.

I was born and immediately I began to evolve away from my baby state, the way summer peaks and then immediately the days begin to shorten.

I was born hot flesh and no particle of that baby remains in me.