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Rio Cortez

Years: 2011


Rio Cortez is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she was the recipient of the Lucy Grealy Prize in Poetry. She is a Cave Canem fellow & MFA candidate at New York University. Her work has appeared in Dark Phrases, Clementine, Cratelit & upcoming in Tuesday;An Art Project & Tidal Basin Review. She loves & lives in Queens, NY.





All the tall buildings in downtown Havana have halos of carrion crows. The autumn sun burns tourists, obscured by black Vs in the sky-blue sky. They hiss and grunt into the palms, almost blind, circling by smell. They say they’re the vultures other vultures follow to prey.


After the hurricane, running along the malecón I see the bodies of two white dogs, bloated & floating near the rock bank. Do vultures circle mistaking diesel fuel for flesh. Or is it the mold, eating the wooden frames of houses, the iron filigree swallowed by rust. Walking to Vedado, I crack the head of a dead bird with my sandal. Or is it something coming.