Cassandra de Alba

ugh @ everything gorgeous i’m not allowed to touch


i want to bite into an ornamental orange

& let its bitter juice run down my chin.

why can’t i luxuriate in the ferns?

i want to sleep at the feet of an armless

marble queen. i want the sun to dive

straight through the skylight

into my unworthy skin.


the ornamental orange trees

are doing a great job

at being beautiful & useless things –


all that inedible fruit clustered

& waiting for no one,

no hands to pick & pluck

or mouth to consume


the garden is birdless & ratless

& antless & half of the plants

are in pots resting on real earth


& i love them, & the ferns

& the fronds & the dangling flowers,

the mosaic surrounded

by all the downy not-grass

that no one gets to step on


there are so many coins

in the fountain

you’re not supposed

to throw coins into


i want to live in this garden

after a hurricane, after 6 months

of neglect. would the birds come

then? how many panes of skylight

unscathed? how many of these plants

have never seen a storm

except through four stories

of glass?


would an inedible fruit

satisfy the same

if there were no one

to tell me no?




sea change


the entire ocean has become a ghost,

cum-white and luminescent.

people go around saying

we killed it, all self-important

about how they warned us

about the trash islands

and we didn’t listen. like humans

have that kind of power over water.

most of the fish are dead, but

the whales are still alive,

gigantic bodies slicing

through the milky murk.

every ship that was on the ocean

became a ghost ship,

and the ones that weren’t

can’t launch, held back

in the harbors by some invisible net.

no one goes swimming any more—

a few surfers off the california coast

still paddle out every morning,

but the waves won’t hold them.

over and over, their boards cut

the curl like it’s air, like it’s time

to stop believing

in the concept of support.




Cassandra de Alba’s work has appeared in Red Lightbulbs, Illuminati Girl Gang, NAP, and Drunken Boat, among others. She lives in Massachusetts with two Emilys and a cat named Roger Mindfucker.

I can be found on the internet here: and here: and also running the Boston Poetry Slam tumblr: which is my primary source of validation most days.