Western Friend logo


Carlos Valentin III
On Loss (May 2023)
Inward Light


Mournful, the passage of clay to steel.

Of the gas-drunk, bobbing silence of a weather balloon
and anticipation of another’s face,
of the heat between two foreheads,
to the switch-backed distance
between wire-tapped voices—

updraft of drier wind and unceasing array of lights—

to a jagged rapids of abbreviated platitudes
hybridized hiccupping flicker
of ill-paced scowl
and poorly-timed laughter
across an overeagerly opalescent screen.

Bygone, better weather and less buttons to press;
though to prune the desert willow of my yard
is to have high hopes for lower pressure.

To dream of cutting sand back out of glass,

instead of the singeing of threads,
of coal-scarred, thirst-browed changes
in the clouds and in the sound
of an old friend’s greeting across the horizon,
but also in the runes cast to predict them both:

now the coffee-simmered, pixelated auguries
of drought-dizzy prophets,

a promise, last winter, of snow in the Sonoran Desert
nothing more than a lizard chasing the wind,
a barefooted heretic
desperately digging toes into the cholla-spined soil
frantic for the chill of a morning frost.

          – 4/1/2018

Carlos Valentin III is a member of Pima Meeting in Tucson, Arizona (IMYM).


Return to "On Loss" issue