Christina Olivares   

 

exile


abuela shouts

then ravages

an organic

banana—takes

her, realer than

that dole crap—


ay el sabor


she releases

like a riptide

a monsoon fills

the house until

her ghosts & i

are drowned, all for


taste: wind rushing

guantanamo

trees, green-black leaves

plastered to sky,

everything trembling

where fidel hid

& crept, her home

town, the wet womb

that bore out his

revolution,

forced her into


exile.           she talks

guava pastries

naughty neighbor

boys, mango tree

bent by hailstorm,

old as a person,

yard circled by

bone-thin glistening

dogs, my baby

aunt sweet-blooded

mosquito swole fat

jewels for eyes.she’s

alive despite our

cheap coffee, our

plastic yellow

tablecloth. all

for taste


and

that night


or the next, deep

in a friend’s

mouth, then tongue wet

flattened against

her swollen clit

re-membering

shock of body—

the body’s salt—

her, new, a burst

ruby, skin a slick

wide rainshe boss:


shhh, motions


touch me. i do.

something old here,

something i knew.


her spine, forest

of spines, black eyes

wetness brokered

in a hidden

gunfire sky—





shining


bent over

orange juice i explain:

it’s a mortal fear,

this fear to shine.


we’re talking about

being the best

at mundane things:

writing, sex, getting a decent job.


lit

from inside, you reply:

it’s gendered

and it’s raced. also, it’s my fear, too.


you say or i say

consequences stay with the earth

this consequence of death—old, yes,

and not imagined.

seas

drowned in synchretic,

dual-lipped gods, the bodies

that perished in the passing & the same/other bodies

driven miles,

feet dusty, red with

dust, part of the treaded,

ground, rutted—

ground, ghost, body.


ground, ghost, body, the same.

what’s remembered: shine, be afraid to shine..

your people

survive better

when nobody’s shining, when nobody’s trying to lift the veil.


so many contrary bloods in my vein

i don’t remember who sings to me at night. wearying


and rich, ill karma, silted earth. and

over coffee, chicken sausage, our early-morning fingers

blotting grease


on soft white napkins, you are my old

friend. from the marble

windos, november glows morning. you confide

you like this hotel mostly

because reception is always kind

to you. they’re russian, i think.


your mixed black & white son,

who is both and neither,

who at four says about me, to you—

she’s a light brown.

she’s a light brown, like me.


it’s difficult

to end this poem.

so many voices

packed inside the few

that speak.






sidenote:  arriving in cuba


Editor’s note: 

In order to preserve the format of the this poem, a document has been linked to the title.  Please click to reveal the craft at play. 


















Christina Olivares is a poet. She is currently a student in Brooklyn College's MFA program. Mermaid.