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by Odette Cortés

from the “Ordinary Conjurings” poetry collection

Today, like every day,

I wait among others for the ferryman.


Here, in the underground,

I tune my senses to signs of his coming—

The whistling of the air

The screeching of the tires

The current of electricity

Coursing down our collective bodies

The endless negotiation:


Push shove

Push shove.


Here, in the darkness,

Time turns to murky water,

An endless river more than six feet under

Where humanity strips away

As we enter the city’s underbelly.


Here, I turn to Orpheus

And cast the oldest of salvations

Notes strung together

Tether my soul

To the light of ten million fireflies

That takes a shortcut into my dreams.

Old memories that run wild

To fleeting sound, lyrics and beats


Push shove

Push shove.


Hold on to the unbreakable thread

The tune of the living provides

For this eternal midnight

Will not last forever.


Push shove

Push shove.


I don’t turn back

Though I’m hanging for dear life

To this song. I don’t turn back

I don’t turn to dust.

I see the light at the end

Of the underground


Push shove

Push shove.

More poetry of Odette Cortés will be available in the upcoming Iridescence anthology. Pre-order today. 

Odette lives in Mexico city as a college instructor and PhD candidate. She studied English Literature at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Odette was one of the finalists in the African Diaspora and Iridescence Awards. She has been since recruited as the poetry editor for Kinsman Quarterly. 

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