/m cameron

At a party a woman I’ve never seen before

put her arms around him too long, left red shadows of her fingertips

on his neck. Hera watched the sky darken with clouds from Olympus

and came down to Earth to find Zeus standing in the woods

with an ivory cow. His lover disguised, Hera knew and sent the furies

to pierce the soft flesh of the cow’s sides as she wandered.

Men are animals a friend said on nights we’d watch them orbit

around women at bars, settle their hands into the curves of their backs.

I ate nothing that summer but salmon and brown rice and showered

in the morning dark so I didn’t have to see my body under the fluorescent

bulbs. There is more than one kind of hunger. The German cockroach

eats anything it can find—soap, glue, the bodies of its young.

This morning I watched one crawl from behind the loose switch plate.

Antennas in the air, it searched for crumbs, anything left behind.

I found photos on his laptop of a woman—her bare back to the camera,

the lace of her thong dark against her pink curves. I stood at the mirror

for days, clawing at my own bare sides, too soft in the windowless light.

Scientists are Using Light to Erase Memories in Snails

I remember summer in New England,

grass like hollow needles underfoot, a torn window

screen, flies that drank themselves to death

in a jar full of red wine in the kitchen. I remember

nothing about my birth parents or the country

where I was born. In a photo, I wear a lace bib.

Someone holds me in Incheon or Seoul.

There’s a washed-grey sky against maple trees

in bloom. They say we can’t mourn for things

we don’t remember. In a dream, my dad reaches

for something, hands held as if in prayer.

As a child I wagered with God, asked him to take me

before my parents. I still believe the dead don’t miss

people the way the living do. I’ve read that families

ask their ancestors for blessings under a full moon each fall

in Korea. In Korea, azaleas cover mountain sides.

In Korea, my name was MeeRa, meaning beautiful silk.

They say we can remember things that never happened.

That summer in New England, the magpies sang so loudly

they ripped the sky open. I see it now—my dad and I

sitting on the back deck, the sun becoming horizon.

We watched moths stumble towards the porch light. He caught

the slower ones in his hands, released them into the dark

where they became shadows against some other light.


Micaela Cameron holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and lives in Washington, D.C. Her work appears in Gulf Coast and Bodega.