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A Conversation With Siri About Death

By Karla Cordero

i watch slasher movies       but hate the sight of real blood     leave the body

i panic on planes        & think of ways the machine or sky

will betray me        i read books       in fear to evaporate

out of this world        without seeing its soft hands

i ask siri how long a human can live     without food     she says: 20 days

i’m 32        & i feed the backyard lizard houseflies

cuz i know what it means to be       a small thing           empty with hunger

simmering in the boil of june          in my car i keep matches & water

for the apocalypse          i ask siri if death hurts

she says: depends          today i remind my fragile father to walk careful

& he slams his foot on a corner wall                his toe nail bent back like a door hinge

an entrance open for no one         to nowhere     i ask siri how long a daughter can live

without her father       she says: there’s a crisis in america

my father’s broken brown flesh            waves like a stiff flag   & i think about skin

& another unjust  dying          & perhaps heaven needs all the help it can get

to send  a winged-saint to convince:             the hand     the gun     the trigger

to write a different story             i don’t know where i’ll be buried

below the earth where i was raised                 or below the earth that questions my right

to own a bit of freedom                         i guess i’m writing this poem

to understand           where our bones sink to      after the last spill of breath

perhaps like this poem              born when the first line crawls      across the page

then a small funeral              when the last word sits like a headstone

i promise you                turn the page

                                                     & witness a resurrection




Listen as Karla Cordero readsA Conversation With Siri About Death.”

Added: Tuesday, March 21, 2023  /  Used with permission.
Karla Cordero
Photo by Kathia Cordero.

Karla Cordero is a Chicana poet, educator and a 2021 California Arts Council Established Artist Fellow. Her poetry collection, How To Pull Apart The Earth, is a San Diego Book Award winner and finalist for the International Latino Book Awards. Karla’s work has appeared on NPR, Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Oprah Magazine, PANK, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4 LatiNext Anthology, among other publications. She is the Executive Director for the non-profit art organization Glassless Minds and Professor at MiraCosta College and San Diego City College. Follow her @karlaflaka13 on Instagram or her website

Image Description: Karla Cordero looks toward the camera and leans against a white rough stone wall. She has brown eyes and dark brown hair, worn pulled back with bangs swept to the left. Karla wears colorful circular earrings and a black shirt with a thick blue stripe across the chest.

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