We wanted to construct a livable world
but the pieces didn’t fit. We wanted
the barely there and the no threat to my family.
Wanted the unaggrieved clothes of someone
who belonged. We wanted to fit under
the sweet tent by the sea. Wanted the open
screen door. There were flotillas of us, yes.
And each of us was a new acrobat
for the circus. We were jangly and beautiful,
yes. We knew the mountains had the good
questions. We knew the midway games
were rigged. We knew carnival barker
raised the height of the hoop slightly so
the eye would never legislate incongruity.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NYFA and the Artist Trust and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.
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