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By Lorna Dee Cervantes

Cherry plums suck a week’s soak,

overnight they explode into the scenery of before

your touch. The curtains open on the end of our past.

Pink trumpets on the vines bare to the hummingbirds.

Butterflies unclasp from the purse of their couplings, they

light and open on the doubled hands of eucalyptus fronds.

They sip from the pistils for seven generations that bear

them through another tongue as the first year of our

punishing mathematic begins clicking the calendar

forward. They land like seasoned rocks on the

decks of the cliffs. They take another turn

on the spiral of life where the blossoms

blush & pale in a day of dirty dawn

where the ghost of you webs

your limbs through branches

of cherry plum. Rare bird,

extinct color, you stay in

my dreams in x-ray. In

rerun, the bone of you

stripping sweethearts

folds and layers the

shedding petals of

my grief into a

decayed holo-


for ever



"Valentine" by Lorna Dee Cervantes, from From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger. Copyright © 1991 by Lorna Dee Cervantes, Used with permission of Arte Público Press,

Source: From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger (Arte Público Press, 1991)

  • Living
  • Love
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Lorna Dee Cervantes is a critically acclaimed native California (Chumash-Chicana) poet.  She is the former Director of Creative Writing and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she has taught for 18 years. Cervantes’s writing evokes and explores cultural difference—between Mexican, Anglo, Native American, and African American lives—as well as the divides of gender and economics. See More By This Poet

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