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Michelle Yasmine Valladares –India/Kuwait/USA–

Michelle Yasmine Valladares  TAPFNY 2016

the world we choose, the world we love

for Nicole Kaltz

Pears ripen. The turtle crosses a walking path to her nesting ground. My dog attacks her own shadow.

Lily pads cover the lake, rise from the muck of fallen trunks and storm

debris. Green algae thick on the pond. Early summer and it is cool.

In San Miguel my sweet girl is dying of cancer. The wall built between Tijuana

and San Diego extends into the Pacific. Deported mothers kept from their babies

by finger-thick slats, use fingers, Kissing fingers for te amo— te echo de menos. A sparrow has a dirt bath and the bottlebrush buckeye blossoms stand upright

like drill sergeants instructing the clouds and sun. Monarchs

appear among the white and yellow butterflies in the rain garden.

A praying mantis wavers on a blade of grass. The cornelian cherry drops its fruit

in the small palms of children as offerings. Aspen branches rustle

in the wind, remind us of a heaven we stopped believing.

But our burning world in your thin arms is the same one we choose to practice love in.

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