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:
(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)
More By This Poet
now i’m bologna
my parents were born from a car. they climbed out
& kissed the car on its cheek. my grandmother.
to be a first generation person. 23 and Me reports
i am descendant of pistons & drive trains. 33%
irrigation tools. you are what you...
Migration is derived from the word “migrate,” which is a verb defined by Merriam-Webster as “to move from one country, place, or locality to another.” Plot twist: migration never ends. My parents moved from Jalisco, México to Chicago in 1987....
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i love you to the moon &
not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of
queer zest & stay up
there & get ourselves a little
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with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean
i was already moonlighting
Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became...