Sarah Cortez



Sarah Cortez, a councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters, has had numerous poems, essays and short stories published in journals and anthologies.  Winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award in poetry, her debut poetry collection is entitled How to Undress a Cop.  Her second book of poetry reveals the life of an urban street cop and is entitled Cold Blue Steel which placed her as a finalist in the Writers’ League of Texas Poetry Awards. An award-winning anthologist of seven volumes, she edited Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence, which won a Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Librarians Association and an International Latino Book AwardHer latest anthology is Goodbye, Mexico: Poems of Remembrance.  Ms. Cortez was recently named to the 2014-16 Texas Commission of the Arts Touring Roster and is a finalist for Texas Poet Laureate.

Always Another Fish

I thought I tasted
hair spray before I heard
red flesh ripping. Crisp
apple. Silly heart. The
front door had said
you loved me.

Quit lying, mi amor.

I’ve talked with Burt
who’s already left,
driving back to Odessa
on only one pale headlight.

At the bottom of my lake
fish polish their scales
all night. Then they turn
into rainbow’d slivers
of light. Come sunrise

I’ll do the same
for you, mi amor. I

After headless tendrils of kelp
tongue your cool, white belly,
I’ll kiss your every length.

Trust me, mi amor. Fealty
measured, then paid.

# 9 Crosswalks
(Untitled, paint on pavement, Carlos Cruz-Diez)

That first day
your painted grids
of sharp colors
were an unexpected, crisp
carpet of flat triangles
across busy streets. Now

your colors are faded. Pea
gravel blooms upward
through paint. Your white
is strung with the black
pearls of spilled tar, necklaced
with tire treads and bike tracks,
slapped by sudden skids. Yet

your blurring brings
our own smudged lives
into abeyance
as we walk
to the art
we hope will offer
some small redemption.



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