Poem of the Week | July 03, 2017

This week, we are proud to present a new poem by Cristina Correa. Correa has received awards and fellowships from the Alliance of Artists Communities, VONA/Voices, Indiana University Writers’ Conference, and Ragdale Foundation. Her writing has been or will be published in TriQuarterly, Best New Poets 2015, Vinyl Poetry, MAKE: A Literary Magazine, Western Humanities Review, Diálogo, and a forthcoming volume of essays on Latino poetics from University of New Mexico Press. Her poetry has been broadcast on National Public Radio’s Latino USA and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. She is an MFA candidate at Cornell University.

Correa was a finalist for the 2016 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. Enter here!

Author’s note:

This poem arose from the grief of losing my father. During his illness, his needs were very intensive and unpredictable, especially at night. Solid sleep just wasn’t a possibility. Even months after he passed, I found my evening anxieties and night terrors returning and sometimes carrying through the morning. This poem was my way of coming to terms with death, while transforming those frantic bed-bound moments into a more intentionally embodied connection to spirit or the unknowable.


My Mind Is a Long Song


It must be a bell-strapped bird after all,
tapping its rhythms through my sweaty dreams.
A tight little seed, a growing signal.
Vice grip still nameless in my throat: pink.


A night terror taps a storm on my roof;
some old drainpipe releases its heavy steam.
What tongue-tied stage is this now, rosy proof?
A rotten weed in a miserable sea?


An open corridor for breath, the throat
is a moment, after all, that I’ll miss.
Thirsty pebble unloosed down a narrow
pathway, slight quiver before the abyss.


A moment, after all, but I’ll miss it.
Dim exhale: a windswept doorway. A moat.
What I want is a wing, eager and well-lit.
Twenty chimes ringing outside my window.