Author Archives: Cassandra de Alba

About Cassandra de Alba

Cassandra de Alba is a grad student in the greater Boston area. Her work has appeared in Skydeer Helpking, The Nervous Breakdown, and Vector Press, among others. She can be found online at outsidewarmafghans.tumblr.com and @cassandraintroy.

what the deer carry

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not ticks, but tiny gems with knobby black legs. not lyme disease but something psychological, something unimaginable to the unbitten. the sparkle in their fur not for fingers or necks but for your blood. once bitten, victims may start to glow; they may shake uncontrollably; they may keen and cry out for their ancestors. they may go to the kitchen. they may come back with a knife.

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DEER

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The What’s Happening To My Body Book For Deer

There are many things your parents may be too shy or embarrassed to talk to 
you about. We are here to reassure you that it is perfectly normal to be 
confused or upset about your changing physical form. After a life spent in 
the absence of antlers, it can be quite alarming when they begin to bud and 
then sprout from the soft fur of your head. Antlers come in all shapes and 
sizes, none better than any other. However, all deer begin to grow antlers 
on the hundredth day of their lives. If there is no sign of your antlers on 
this date, not even a portentous cloud, something is seriously wrong with 
you – this book cannot help.

You may notice some growing pains in your legs as they begin to lengthen, 
and in your eyes as they begin to show you the inevitable cracks forming 
in the very foundations of your reality. This happens to most young deer 
and should decrease in intensity around the time your fur starts to form 
itself into small barbed spikes around your hooves.

Your parents may be most reluctant to discuss with you your newfound taste 
for blood. To them, it represents your transition into adulthood, away from 
the innocent fawn who once only fed on grasses and bark. We are here to 
advise you that your first bloodmeal may be awkward or messy, but what is 
important is that you want it – what is important is that as your jaws 
clench around that first morsel of flesh and your teeth dig in, everything 
feels right, from the warm blood pooling in your cheeks to the sudden 
absence of a small creature’s shrieks or squeals, the silence you created 
in your own throat. 
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Two Poems – Cassandra de Alba

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Sideshow

We are a dangerous place
and we move towns every night.
These thrills are not so cheap for us.
All of our days repeat like this one, 
set up, performed and torn down again
while you go to a home
that just stays there.

You watch high-wire acts 
because you believe in the distance 
to the ground, the chance of an accident. 
The girl in the tiger cage is prettier 
the closer she gets to teeth and claws. 
You come to the freak show
because you want to stare at something
you can feel better than

and we are so reassuring here.
And in Louisville, Bedford, Bloomington—
we are home in the moment
of the drawn curtain, the gasp
of surprise. We love your shocked faces. 
You put on such a show for us Continue reading

Five Poems – Cassandra de Alba

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The only living girl in America

Nine years old and my favorite daydream
is the one where everyone’s vanished. 
I’m old enough for a license 
and I drive across abandoned America:
ignore speed limits, break into houses, 
rummage drawers and sleep 
in the queen-sized beds 
of strangers. 

This is what I thought about 
while the well-adjusted girls 
planned their weddings. 
I never imagined myself 
with a faceless groom and a white dress
but I remember the woman
I did not grow up to be:
long light-colored hair, muscular arms
and either a dusty red pickup 
or one of those low, squared-off cars 
the old movie stars emerged from at premieres—
only I am at a filling station in the desert,
watching the sun set, secure
in the selfish knowledge 
that the whole country is mine.
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