Poetry - Sivlia Curbelo

Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Silvia Curbelo emigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was a child. Her poetry has been published in literary journals and over two dozen anthologies such as The Body Electric: America's Best Poetry (W.W. Norton), Snakebird: Thirty Years of Anhinga Poets (Anhinga Press), and Norton's Anthology of Latino Literature. 

She has received the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs for poetry three times. In addition Curbelo has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Seaside Institute, the Writer's Voice, the Florida Arts Council and Cintas Foundation for her poetry. She won the Atlantic Center for the Arts Cultural Exchange Fellowship to La Napoule Arts Foundation in France. In 1996 Curbelo won the Jessica Nobel-Maxwell Memorial Prize from the American Poetry Review. 

Silvia Curbelo is published in the American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooney and Tampa Review in addition to others. She has authored three collections, The Geography of Leaving (Silverfish Review Press), The Secret History of Water (Anhinga Press) and Ambush). The Secret History of Water was the inaugural volume of the Anhinga Press Van K. Brock Florida Poetry Series. The most recent collection, Ambush, won the Main Street Rag Chapbook Competition. Curbelo currently lives and works in Tampa as an editor for Organica Quarterly. 


Small Craft Warnings

When the day slips out of context
When wind shifts in its tracks
and the sails fold in on themselves

When birds let go of their shadows
When weeds unlock a hidden garden
When the clouds part and the smoke clears

and the day stretches to its vanishing point
like a story that begins in a house by a river
and ends anywhere the sky goes S. Curbelo


River Music

Let the water rise in you, let it 
fill all the spaces in your head, let it
slip through your windows and doors, let it
drench everything you know, the room 
and all its ruined voices, the burned out 
couches and chairs, the television 
always on, let it drag 
itself through you
taking the river with it,
its work song, its small humming,
a prayer like an old shoe the current ferries
to the vanishing point, let it 
empty itself in you, a kind of thirst, 
an inkling, moth of light filling 
your mouth with wings, let the gravity 
of stones sink through it
for all the sleepless nights,
pink slips, betrayals, the empty 
boat of your desires drifting 
in a place so deep the land
slips away from its moorings
S. Curbelo


Weather Patterns

Sunlight forgives everything 
it touches, erasing every stone 
in its path. Salt on its palm,
it cracks open the shell of any 
story, thick as kindness moving 
through the grass. But rain 
leaves no blade unturned. 
It lays a stubborn hand
on the horizon, pushing down.
Into the ground. Into the dark
earth. Where small things bloom. 
S. Curbelo


The Secret History of Water

In an attic room near the river
a child leans out the impossibly
high window to watch so much 
dark water going past. 
There is no true color for it.
There is no precise word for it either. 
Say flood. Say stream. 
Say immeasurable thirst.
You can feel it rising.