photo of a woman dressed in black sitting in front of a chalkboard

Three Poems by Valentina Cano

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An Ill Head, Dreaming II

Help in the form of birds.
Feathers to remember what escape means,
and beaks to carve it.
She could not see herself better,
not well enough to wield smiles,
but she could feel the echo
of a day when the salt wave
in her chest would not rise to drown.

For the Neighbors, Who Know How to Bully

Anger is a giant month
pressed against my face.
Its tulle wings light at first,
promising, always promising.
But my breath is trapped
and bangs against the soft walls.
The stickiness of spider webs
crawls down my throat,
coming to coat my gummy insides
until I am one organ.
A Pangaea of hate.

View From Above

In the morning,
she is a piece of sky.
Bright and straight
she blinks down onto
the groaning streets.
She walks,
plastic bag in hand,
to fulfill tasks
she’s wrapped around herself like wind.
Things to scatter her thoughts
along with her hair.
She breathes in the morning’s tartness
and makes herself into who she
needs to be.

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either writing or reading. Her works have appeared in Exercise Bowler, Blinking Cursor, Cartier Street Press, Berg Gasse 19, Precious Metals, A Handful of Dust, The Scarlet Sound, The Adroit Journal, Perceptions Literary Magazine, Welcome to Wherever, The Corner Club Press, Death Rattle, Danse Macabre, Subliminal Interiors, Generations Literary Journal, Super Poetry Highway, Stream Press, Stone Telling, Popshot, Golden Sparrow Literary Review, Rem Magazine, Structo, The 22 Magazine, The Black Fox Literary Magazine, Niteblade, Tuck Magazine, and  Ontologica, among many others. You can find her here:

Lead image: “birds5” (via Flickr user Sara Lando)