Baile De Magos

Tor Strand


This world is loss

           and your grin

            the angle                    

          of the horizon

        so tell me

                                    what you saw

              in the sky

                                 lying there

                            like a sheet

                 of inked paper

                the earth


       in a fire

   in your eyes

      of whirlpools

                     and rain

                        when you

                    dance I breathe

              the colors

                                               of your


                                               when you

                                     dance with

                               found wind

                             on black

                 sand stories

        ossified inside

            the river

           on the firm

       beach of desire

      arms wide

                              skin like

                    smoothed stones

                                        the blue

              green backs

                                          of crabs

      and tumbled

                               glass glow

  with you

  the sea’s song plays

              in your ear

                   spiral shell

                             take in

each note

            with the same

       invisible grace

                that makes 

                           our bodies

                     warm with

                  earthlorn light

          dewy heartbeat

              the valley

        of twenty
    four hour

life blades

the morning

          on your


                   how I


                        your lips


                      on these words

          in the rise

                              of every

                  s-curved slip





Tor Strand is an alumnus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He graduated this May with honors in creative writing and a German studies minor. While in school, he was an editor of Linfield’s literary journal, “Camas,” and as a senior was awarded an internship to be the assistant nonfiction editor for “High Desert Journal,” a literary magazine of the mountain west. He has forthcoming poetry to be published in “Caustic Frolic,” a student-run journal of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Experimental Humanities, though he would like to give a shout out to Cathexis for being the first place to accept his work.

“This poem was inspired by a dear friend and the powerful connection she shares with her homeland, the Canary Islands. The unpunctuated train of zigzagging images are my attempt to reflect her vibrant, fiery nature. Another motivation, including the title of the piece, stemmed from a story she told me about festivals held annually in the islands called Romerías. In particular, a traditional dance that celebrates the Catholic saints of her home island of Tenerife, known as the “Baile de Magos.” “Mago” is conventionally translated as “magician” or “wizard” but in the Canarias it can also translate as “farmer” or someone who lives in a small town. My friend went on to tell me that many years ago, some parts of the islands were not fit for farming and lacked fertile soil. Therefore, the farmers (or magos) were said to have “made magic” with the land to produce their crops.

I chose the title in an attempt to not only represent landscape, but also the durability of the human soul and our deeply embedded connection to the land we are born from and thrown into. I also felt like the form sort of “dances” down the page. “