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Three Poems by James Valvis


I love water.
I love the way it knows every curve in the rock,
every crevice of the mountain,
how it finds its way over things, under things, through things.
Water is a traveler who carves its own road.
There is no obstacle that can withstand its slow and patient craftsmanship.
I love how it will take centuries to smooth a pebble that will fit perfectly into your palm. I put my hand in the water
because I know no other way to know something is real.
It must be felt. It must be in my hand.



You have come to a place where you can no longer go forward.
You can not go right. Left is no good either.
You can go back, but who wants to do that?
You have been there and you know it’s not for you.
What can you do?

Put your hands in your pockets. Enjoy the wind.
Remember you have on your trusty old blue jacket.
Listen to the water crash on the stones and rush past your feet like music.
High overhead a bird calls out to his lover.
The forest behind you smells like a womb.
Everything is changing now and changing you with it.

Where did you need to go?

It must have been here.



With llamas, if the ears are up, you’re in luck—he wants your company.
If his ears are down, you better leave him alone, he might spit at you.

How much better off would we be if people had those ears?

And not just the spit.

James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His writing can be found in Anderbo, Arts & Letters, GHLL, LA Review, Rattle, River Styx, and storySouth. His poetry has been featured at Verse Daily. His fiction has twice been a Million Writers Notable Story. He lives near Seattle.