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Jessica Cordes


Last spring I flew home like a bird

to work in the rose garden, & I learned how to dead

-head through thorns, how to be fire-stung by a saddleback

caterpillar & breathe through it, how to sneeze out lavender

& sweat out grief, one morning Holly & I weeded

crabgrass beneath white hydrangeas, she told me

she can talk to the dead, I giggled & said Holly we all can

if we want to, she said yeah but they talk to me too, & I dug

down further in the dirt for roots, she palmed the crown

of her head, it’s so loud in here sometimes, like Grand Central

Station, then her voice turned to a whisper & she leaned in,

I wish you could hear it. You think your cousin’s gone; she’s not.

Then she motioned to the blooms & the oaks & the hot June air

she’s right here—they all are—it’s like they’re in the other room.

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Jessica Cordes is a poet from Newburgh, New York. She is an MFA student at the University of Alabama and the Poetry Editor at New York Quarterly Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Susurrus, and Sonora Review.

Bear Review


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