Small Dead Thing

I love the flatness

of it. The space

it takes in my mouth.

I like to gnaw on it

when I’m nervous.

It tastes like dirty pearls.

If kept in water

it becomes winged

but it can never be a bird

because it has shame.

I ask it about circular things:

moon cycles and foot heels,

how cats sleep,

the growing affinity

for arched windows.

It does not answer me

not because it does not

like me, instead I think

it has a problem

with being too precise.

I like to watch it

in the mornings

when its prickly hair

makes small grass shadows

distorted on the wave

of my drapes. Who knows

how it got to be that way.

Something tells me it happened

in a desert or another place

where air can smother.

It has the best skin.

I am jealous

I am so jealous of its color:

gutter milk that rises

onto the street after a storm

with one long pink streak

down its side.

I rub against it

to make a door

of one of us.



Gabrielle Otero was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. She recently received her MFA in Writing with a concentration in poetry and literary translation from Columbia University. Her poetry has appeared in you are here: the journal of creative geography. She currently works in television production and divides her time between the Bronx and Albany, NY.