I was old enough to know
that your heart was a train station,
that the doors to your sanity
were hanging on their hinges.
Love would rush into you, like an afternoon
commuter, with crumpled sonnets
in its pockets and coffee stains on its hands.
There was an absence of light when
the last of it left down the stony steps
of your ribs, dragging rusted chains
over the entrance.
And I was there in the stark
mornings with the key, just a child
with a swaying lantern and the knowledge
of picking locks. In those early years,
you told me I was the keeper of that place.
I was the one to make those predetermined
schedules run on time—and billow into the night
like locomotive steam.
—from 2015 Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Why do you like to write poetry?
Catherine Valdez: “Poetry is the most malleable form of self-expression and translates the subconscious onto the page without a loss of the original intent of a piece.”