In my microreview & interview of Roberto Carcache Flores’ A Condensation of Maps, I noted how Flores has a knack for working up images that connect on both a conceptual and emotional level. In this week’s poem, “Friends in Rio Sapo,” we see the gradual build up of details and images culminate in a moment of quiet revelation.
The title sets up a moment of connection along “Toad River,” a phrase which is engaged immediately through the image of “passing clouds” looking “like white lily pads / in a heated / swimming pool.” This latter detail is jolting, as it implies a human element amidst an otherwise nature-focused poem. This jarring moment, however, serves to push the reader closer into the other details. As we move from cliff, albatross, mango groves, and stray dogs, just who the “friends” of the title are become apparent.
This coming together of elements continues in the second stanza as the speaker’s communion with Rio Sapo mirrors the arrival of “stray dogs.” At its heart, this poem reveals such communion as one of its gifts. I say gifts because of the third stanza’s subtle tumbling of details. Line by line, the third stanza evokes in words a similar spell as cast by what it describes. Between the sounds (undress, night’s, silence, innocence on one end; croaks, bank on the other) and the imagery presented, this last stanza reveals not the speaker’s thought but their experience before the reader.
Friends in Rio Sapo – Roberto Carcache Flores
The passing clouds
are reflected on
the water’s surface,
like white lily pads
in a heated
my feet feel
the rocky cliff’s
of a tuna can
and a bag of raisins
of corn meal
and the occasional
begin to undress
I’m also happy to share that I have received my copies of my new book Small Fires (FutureCycle Press)!
If you’re interested in purchasing a signed copy, feel free to email me at: email@example.com
This collection includes my poem “El Rio” originally published in Crab Creek Review.