Three Poems by Valentina Cano


Details of a place have knotted
like roots in my hair.
I can’t shake them off.
A stone wall that bore a face
as empty as the eye watching it.
A roof hammered by birds’ beaks
and termites snouts.

I think of the way
the sun slid through the crevices
like golden thread
through a needle’s eye,
a cross-stitch of hours
that refused to dim.

They pull at me,
these memories,
these infinite details
that are so soft
they could bend with ease.
Hot glass folding in two.


Continents of sound ring,
one by one,
between us.
They sit like chairs, separating us,
each with its own story
its own needs
its own ego.
I watch your shoulder twitch up,
a stork’s bone,
your leg crossed
at an angle of defiance
as you watch,
pretending not to watch.
Sound wraps around you, then me,
a feather softness tinted with your feral smell.
A cologne of long nights,
of echoes learning to scream.

Slim Pickings

Papers are scattered around him,
like flags.
White, yet dirty,
splotched with truths
that ask for an end.
They look up at him
with eyes made of the roundest syllables.

He can only gaze back,
his mouth knotting and unknotting
in curls of fear,
words shuffling back and forth
through his pupils.
Tapes of sentences
that have been scrubbed clean of all meaning.

He turns the pages at random
picking a word like a seed,
just one of many,
asking to be born.

Profile: Valentina Cano

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