Cody Koester

I love what’s untranslatable. The word
cafuné, for instance, from the Portuguese,
meaning the tenderness expressed
by running fingers through a lover’s hair.
Or saudade—those gliding vowels
in-between that and d,
pushing out the breath and lips
to mean nostalgia
not only for what someone might have had
then lost, but even for a something
never in the first place ever had.
Which makes me think of déjà vu
and how, one evening, walking foreign woods
with you, I could have sworn we’d been there
before, the way the dropping sun
played its fingers through the leaves
so that the light glowed green and amber
in grenescence around us as we stood there
for a moment, silent in the fern and pine
—before the sunlight quickened,
then was gone, leaving us with earthy scents
of roots and moss, must and dirt.
Cody Koester earned an MFA in poetry from New York University’s Writers Workshop in Paris program and was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize while at UCLA. His poems have been published in Narrative and other journals. He lives in New York City, where he works as a teaching artist with students in the Lower East Side. 


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