by Valentina Cano


The past is a measurement
of distance, not time.
It is a glow
expanding and shrinking,
enveloped in dark fur.
An animal’s chest teeming with breath.
The past happens now across the night,
and will continue until
our screams run out.

Everyday Defeats

Walking down the slab of white street,
she lost her life.
It slipped from her hands
and out of the purse
with the hole in its side
to tumble to a patch
of scorched grass.
She walked on,
thinking of what to cook for dinner
and how many drinks
she’d allow her hands to pour.


The Search

I’m searching through
papers frozen beneath an entire ocean.
The looping handwriting
that speaks of tobacco saddles
and slick oil against skin
is locked, a static scribble.
The touch of the years
fades the words to a seashell whisper
flickering before me.

         University of Southern California Libraries

A Grandfather

His sweat smelled empty
as he passed by me.
He walked on his rubber-soled toes,
bouncing and tightening his arms
against his pecked ribs
as if they might collapse
with a collection of hollow,
wooden clatters to the floor.

The Inheritance

Her compulsion is an echo of his.
It mimics his movement
like a stuttering shadow,
tapping itself raw against a wall.
He strokes words
and she clicks the mouse button
in an increasing pulse.
Both their brains chewing
themselves to bloody bits
across the same room.

          1894 Ordnance Survey

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. Her debut novel, The Rose Master, will be published in 2014. You can find her at carabosseslibrary.blogspot.com.