There’s a Secret Out There, When No One Is Watching

Valin Paige


somewhere out in the desert

is a body – murdered & forgotten

                                                buried deep in the yellows &

                                                oranges of New Mexico or Arizona

waiting to be dug up hastily

with a notched shovel that will

                                                scrape against its dry ribs

                                                & gouge out bits of skull

someone will wipe sweat

from their brow & take a quick

                                                drink of water from a dusty

                                                bottle before continuing this

work, eventually pulling teeth

& ribs & good hip tips from

                                                the dry earth – will then smile

                                                see something familiar in all

those bones – something worth

being drawn to in the early morning

                                                hours with a knife or crowbar

                                                & a filthy kind of hunger

there is something magic being

nowhere in the desert with a shovel

                                                something magic about being old

                                                knowing there is a living with terrible

secrets & then this person smiles

rummaging in these memories

                                                & a dead thing that knows, but

                                                perhaps the bones heard of revenge

from the earth, spent years planning

for something good like this

                                                the shoveler watches

                                                the bones begin to shift, thinks it is the wind

at first – then the bones move

faster, turn their sharp bits on

                                                a familiar face, begin to cut in & out

                                                over & over again until there again is

quiet & the yellows & oranges

begin to take everything back down into

                                                the dancing, ecstatic dust



Valin Paige is a spoken word poet living in St. Paul, MN. She has a spoken word album titled Bleed Through and is published on Button Poetry. She is currently an MFA student at Hamline University.