A lizard drags its tail
through a crack
in the world

to lie on my altar
under a skylight
among saints and buddhas.

For days the gecko sits still
and silent: a green monk
revealing the way to lizardy heaven,

while on the oaks, crows cry out—
for us to decode—
the names of the dying.

La Calaca is stalking us, warns mamá.

The phone channels another hard sell
from a mortuary.
I’m not interested, I groan.
She persists, insists I prepare.

My relatives, blessed
or cursed with long lives,
parade before me—
papá’s luminous body
walking backwards.

I bow to my kin, to papá,
to the gold-green herald
sun-worshipping on my altar—

          master of stillness,
          of vanishing—

suddenly chasing after its tail,
transforming to spinning wheel,
                 to whirling zero.





Gina ValdesGina Valdés’s poetry has been published in journals and anthologies in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Recent work appears in Calyx, Earth’s Daughters, Huizache, Spillway, and Mizna.

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