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By José Olivarez

forgive my geography, it’s true i’m obsessed
with maps. with flags. a Starbucks on the block
means migration. any restaurant with bulletproof glass
is a homecoming. underneath my gym shoes
is a trail of salt. that last sentence is a test.
does the poet mean:
(a) grief
(b) winter
(c) diaspora
(d) this is the wrong question
(e) all of the above
i’m always out south
of somewhere. i know the sun rises
in Lake Michigan and sets out west.
i got primos i’ve never met. there’s a word
for that. (where did they go?) all the steel mills shuttering up
like conquered forts. one day, there will be an urban tour
through South Chicago. picture the soy cappuccino-
sipping cool kids wearing Chicago Over Everything-
branded hoodies taking selfies in front of machines
that once breathed fire. pretending the bones
are the real thing.

Source: Poetry (December 2019)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

José Olivarez
José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants, the author of Citizen Illegal (2018), the co-author of Home Court (2014), and the co-host of the poetry podcast The Poetry Gods. In 2018, Olivarez was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. He is a coeditor of BreakBeat Poets 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Books). Olivarez lives in New York. See More By This Poet

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