What if I say you are the man who wears fish
for shoes, or that you hide beneath a girl's green
dress? What if I tell them I found you inside a bottle
or a lamp, and that in there, you were holding
a small brown bird under your tongue? What if
I write this on snakeskin: Deep inside his eye sockets
there are jellyfish. You told me you came from a place
where stampedes of horses hunt in the valley of your ribcage.
I told you that's where I came from, too. Funny, I never
saw you there, you said. Yes you did. I was the one
selling ice tea from inside a cardboard box. What if
the pills you swallow are actually dragonflies, rubbing
the dust from their wings all over your belly? What if
there is an octopus in your backyard? What if there are
firecrackers in your onions? What if I spray-paint
a secret message on the curved wall of a drain tunnel
that when deciphered means: His body was a drum
and his hands were horns. He made a song that turned
my throat into a wishing well and filled me with pennies
that flickered like copper stars.
He wanted her to make a greenhouse of her body, so he bought her a book about carrots.
Read to her, from chapter two, where ancient Greeks used the root vegetable as a love medicine,
and gentlemen in Tehran boiled them in sugar. He said, Tonight, let's make a stew.
But she was afraid, that if they made a son, her father would never hold him without wearing
Or if they knocked together a daughter, his mother would refuse to braid her curls.
After dinner, he left a torn-out page from chapter four next to her perfume, where it explained
how carrots actually exist in a rainbow of colors: purple-skinned, white-fleshed, red and yellow—
and that in fact, the deep-sweet orange that we know today is actually the love-child
of a pale yellow and a dark red.
At midnight, she let him climb through her like a weed. Her arms and legs let go of her, rippled
like worms in sun. He opened the window to let in the moon, then wrapped a lock of her hair
around his ear like a vine.
That night, she dreamt of a baby born with the skin of a giraffe. And twins, that did not share
the same kind of lips. She woke in a cold sweat and opened the carrot-book to chapter six.
Read how a woman can eat the seeds after love-making, to make her slippery inside, so that a
can slide out from her legs before it even begins to grow.
She untied her hair and crept out onto the fire escape. Their vegetable garden was an old plastic
She got on her knees in the stark white light and began to dig deep into the box of wet soil.
She closed her eyes and used the tips of her fingers to search the dirt for seeds.
Erica Miriam Fabri
Erica Miriam Fabri is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and received her MFA in poetry from The New School. Her first full-length collection of poems, Dialect of a Skirt, is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press (Fall 2009). She is the author of the chapbook, High Heel Magazine (winner of the 2006 Belle Letter Press Chapbook Contest) and her work has appeared in numerous journals, including: Texas Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Hanging Loose Magazine, MIPOesias, Good Foot Magazine and Paper Street. She has performed in a wide range of venues and facilitated poetry workshops for a variety of organizations such as The Brooklyn Public Library, Poet's House, Urban Word NYC, The Fortune Society, The Robin Hood Foundation, and the PEN Prison Writing Program. She has lectured and led seminars at Cooper Union School of the Arts, New York University, Columbia University and Penn State University. She currently teaches creative writing at The School of Visual Arts and for the City University of New York (CUNY).