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El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez
El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez
El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez
El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez
El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez
El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez

El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez


Borders between countries, between family members, between languages, between the sentences in a poem. Some are porous and some — impermeable. El Valle captures a childhood and adolescence of unease, the impact of journeying between places, and the constant negotiating that is at the heart of the immigrant family's life. Esteban Rodríguez's poems are both quest and crossing, disarming in their form and comprehensive in their scope. 


In the city with a heart in the heart of the Valley
     you smudge the haze off the edges of a scene
see vans trailers see the way a tent unfolds
     like a moth see the signs staked crookedly
across the lot advertising to the highway and the world
     beyond a circus a three-night extravaganza
filled with elephants lions with trapeze artists who will bend
     the laws of gravity leave us feeling like we’ve never
felt before or so the signs imply and because you
     in this moment are a child once again you beg
your mom to take you claim that this week you’ll be good
     that you won’t ask for candies toys won’t refuse
to do your chores and when at the show you’ll stay as still
     as possible will watch as the elephants play dead
as the acrobats swing from bar to bar as the clowns trip over
     one another and their wigs fall off reveal a balding
head you refuse to let distract you from the truth you believe in:
     all of this real and one day you too will shed
your ordinariness be someone else" [extract from El Valle by Esteban Rodríguez]

Publication date: 25 October 2019.

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of Dusk & Dust (Hub City Press 2019), (Dis)placement (Skull + Wind Press 2020), and the micro-chapbook Soledad (Ghost City Press 2019). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Shenandoah, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor at the EcoTheo Review and is a regular reviews contributor at PANK and Heavy Feather Review. He lives with his family and teaches in Austin, Texas.