Issue > Poetry
Rio Cortez

Rio Cortez

Rio Cortez lives in NYC. She is a Pushcart nominee and graduate of the MFA program at NYU. She has received fellowships from Poet's House, Cave Canem and Canto Mundo Foundations. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Huizache, Sugar House Review and elsewhere.

North Node


According to her, I appeared to my mother in an in-utero vision and told her my name. Before I chose my mother, all day long I ran my fingertips along the slick backs of cutthroat trout and gathered water from Mill Creek into a sapphire pale, I waited for her. In the distance there was a blue bull surrounded by lilies.

She loves me so she bore me underwater. I'm here to learn a lesson. I spent my other lives in the Nevada desert, where I only did what felt good. What could that mean? I reconcile the pleasure in lying naked on the hot sand of the Mojave, watching the braided muscles in a horse's hind legs, with the ocean nowhere, a frying chest slammed to the hood of an idle car. I'm here to cut the scorpion from my throat. Even though it has dragged me through sweet darkness and time. Even now, in the stillness of home, in love and full of wine, it wraps its eight legs around me. Even through the lilies, it sets its many eyes on me and then longing

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