Two by Valentina Cano

Firebird in Captivity

These works of fire you dangle

above me are losing their ashy feathers.

The crinkling edges bend and wave

in the sighing light.

You shake your head like a towel,

giving me dryness and warmth

as I dance on cushions throughout

our empty rooms.


The table catches quick fire.

I think it’s the first that cradles the heat

as the chairs crackle around,

a gaggle of woodchips flapping away.

You wave your arm like trimmed wings

and feed the flames invisible seeds.

I swing my ax of hair

and laugh as it sizzles like meat.



With a tail whip

the fire created a trench between us

a quickening thread of angry particles.

I bent as the heat brushed

my face with its fins,

and you paced in front of me

as if the air was clawing inside you.

This is bad, I know.

Your ruffled hair,

 shadowed by smoke,

is no longer a wonder for me.

I cannot find myself shining

under your cellophane skin.

We have spread apart,

gaunt as fish hooks,

dripping blood from a toothed fight,

eyes like creatures from the deep.

By Valentina Cano

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