The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Claudia Cortese’s “Blood Medals”

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Lucy loves their dead edges,

their lying light. The dim one in the sky’s eastern corner has lived a long life. A feral burst of dust, she fought and fucked her way into adulthood, settled into her bed of gold and told the circling moons of her youthful storms—their most numinous moments. Brighter than fire and cardinal, ruby ring pops and maraschinos, the red star beside it has no stories to tell. In other words, Lucy loves her best of all. The spruces in the distance look like a row of pointy caps on trolls’ heads, and the Oreos crunching in Lucy’s ears are so loud, she fears her mother will hear her mouth.

This selection comes from Claudia Cortese’s chapbook Blood Medals, available from Thrush Poetry Press. Purchase your copy here!

Claudia Cortese has two chapbooks: Blood Medals (Thrush Poetry Press, 2015) and The Red Essay and Other Histories (forthcoming from Horse Less Press, 2015). Her poems and lyric essays have found homes at Black Warrior Review, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review Online, and Sixth Finch, among others. Cortese lives in New Jersey and is the poetry editor for Swarm (

A recipient of a 2015 NEA Fellowship for poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Staci R. Schoenfeld’s poems appear in or are forthcoming from Washington Square, Mid-American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Muzzle, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. She is a PhD student at the University of South Dakota.


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