Starfish, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Craig Goodworth, VČELA, #62, 2013



You cannot see
an actual star
in solitary confinement.

You see them in
your heart, you feel
them every time your
heart skips a beat.

You feel a weight
you cannot lift.
If you were a star that weight
would drag you down
to the depths of the sea
under shipwrecked boats.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal


Review by Dan Overgaard

This delicate poem travels great distances—from the heavens (this may be a cliché on my part, but I want to say, the very heavens) to the bottom of the ocean, straight through your heart, with its burdens—then piercing the perfect shape and tragic weight borne by starfish. Who knows what the starfish has seen and taken in? It lies there, open.


Review by James Thurgood

Like the moons and birds of the previous poem, stars and hearts have featured in poetry since, undoubtedly, our species babbled its first rhymes.  In the right hands, however, they can work just like new, as is the case in this wonderfully evocative piece.


Review by Alan Gold

Robert Penn Warren’s New Criticism held up poems as self-referential, self-contained, holding all that is needed to understand them within their own aesthetic. I enjoy close readings of poems on occasion (okay, maybe “enjoy” is stretching it) but not this time. This time I googled the poet, and discovered that he works in mental health. Already a moving picture of minds dragged under by a weight they cannot lift, already a descent into a damaged and destroyed unconscious, the poem suddenly came alive with this new information as if it has gained a third dimension. And it moved me.

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