Rio Cortez

I’m home, you could see me throughthe kitchen window washing my daughter’s dishesmy hands are busy but I’m looking at the elkon the face of the mountainI know nothing about elk, but herewe are, at any given momentthere must be countless allegoriesbut I’m only interested in oneam I home or am I only visiting? I am throughwith asking, I’m at the center of a cul-de-sacwind sweeps through the aspen like a hisswe are in our own snow cupmelted to the summer people we really areI am answering for myselfHissssssssssss of the aspen, at the beginningof which could, I suppose, be anythingcul-de-sac, just as well, a saucer, rising up,up to the summit, it’s possible I’ve never beenhigher, I feel it, I’m really leaving nowmoving through the told story

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photo of Rio Cortez

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rio Cortez is the New York Times bestselling author of The ABCs of Black History (Workman, 2020) and I Have Learned to Define a Field As a Space Between Mountains, winner of the 2015 Toi Dericotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Her honors include a Poets & Writers Amy Award, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, Canto Mundo, The Jerome Foundation, and Poet’s House. Rio holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University.


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The Adroit Journal was founded in November 2010 by poet Peter LaBerge. At its foundation, the journal has its eyes focused ahead, seeking to showcase what its global staff of emerging writers sees as the future of poetry, prose, and art.

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