Cassandra Caverhill | 3 Works


There aren’t going to be many days left like this; warm and bright with dying leaves held fast to hands. I ask a friend for company and am grateful she declines; I assure my husband I’ll walk again when he pouts but I won’t keep my promise. I stroll the street and trudge the slight hill, crunching through amber by the empty baseball diamond, and nearly miss the trail’s entrance. On a bench sloped beside the creek rests an empty mickey of Seagram’s Extra Smooth. What’s here? Poison? Drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after? I let my conscience carry me away from embodying whatever body had slumped there. Further up, I regard timbered trees, lanky and laid out across the water—how long did it take for the ground around to erode and leave them susceptible to suspension? How long have I been falling? Three young girls in various hues of blue race toward me, hair billowing, and I step aside to let them pass. “Don’t leave me alone,” the last straggler calls. And I wish that they’d never forget this insulated moment of childhood. I enter a clearing that is so often a swamp of standing rain, now a bone-dry basin of leaves beneath my boots. Desperation’s made me restless; the feeling of flight returns. I take a seat on a reclining trunk in sunlight and listen to the patter of maples stir. A cascade of bronze stars fall and I wish that I was anywhere but stuck.

Pound Cake

I leave the eggs and butter and margarine out overnight to silk soften when whipped. That’s a step in the recipe that Grandmamma Dot never wrote down, but it makes all the difference, Leigh Ann, my mother-in-law, once told me. In a large metal bowl, I beat the batter with pirouetting whisks that twirl in tandem: Grandma Kay’s Mixmaster, handed down to me when Alzheimer’s rotted her self-sufficiency. I take the blunt edge of a butter knife that was once my mother’s and level the sugar, the flour, cup after cup, let the yolks and albumen congeal the ingredients. Wishing I had taken Grandma Grace’s metal bundt pan when it was offered, the one with the latching corset that allowed the cake to breathe after it’d risen, instead of my flimsy silicone mold. The house expands with the softness of vanilla, with the memories of magic living through me, with the women who sifted me through their palms and let me grow. 

Blackout Cells

Shades lidded the light of dawn’s insistence.
This is the way we used to wake, fumbling 

toward consciousness. You aren’t here
anymore. I puzzle out faint images of a bay

and the fully clothed taking to water:
A man in a three-piece suit fishing for 

forms filled out in god’s handwriting.
I stir and regret percolates like morning’s 

coffee on the stovetop. I mourn and I 
miss you; it’s unmistakable though

we are unmistaken in our expiration.

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