Silo, José del Valle

Photograph by Catherine Silks




A silo is a mouse-made thing;
the souls can’t get to heaven.
Swallows crap the corrugated steel,
rivets pop like rifleshots in the sun,
& the elevator, grinding, carries everything
into airless heat but a ghost of hope—
of mouse hope, mouse laughter,
fetor of urine & decay, dead fur—& dust,
the settle & sift of silage corn & sorghum,
the tonnage of wheat & oat & soy,
ever pressing, sinking—to a floor of stone:
of oat stone, barley stone, mouse.

Swallows heave the colossal blocks
on shoulders thin as paper.

José del Valle


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