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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 3, 2018.
About this Poem 

“As part of a monthly Kundiman postcard writing exchange I started penning small sonnets on the backs of postcards and sending them to participating Kundiman fellows, faculty, and staff. This particular poem is based on a story a relative had told me about a loved one who had passed away and whose body was carried over the threshold of her apartment somewhat unceremoniously. I wanted to write a memorial of sorts but also acknowledge the indifference of the residents in the apartment complex where she was found.”
—Oliver de la Paz

Diaspora Sonnet 25

The planet pulls our bodies through
the year. Delivers us, headlong,

into the tears in currents. The ebbs
and flows of blood in chambers,

bombastic and flooded with unremembered
names. Neighbors bourne feet first

through their door arches.
Down the corridors, lonesome

and lost. Their voices suture
the silence behind them and

the little song pulsing its staccato 
cannot explain the day and the day

and the day, like an arm and then 
another pulled through a sleeve.

Copyright © 2018 by Oliver de la Paz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 3, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Oliver de la Paz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 3, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz is the author of Post Subject: A Fable (University of Akron Press, 2014). 

by this poet

poem

The way is written in the dark:

it has steel in it, something metallic, a gun,

a mallet, a piece of machinery—

something cold like the sea, something,

 

a nervous shudder. If it

were to go on, the next stanza

would snuff out sound.
 
It would stand in a forest

poem

Dear Empire,



These are your temples. There are rows of stone countenances, pillar after pillar. As if walking through a forest filled with alabaster heads: here, the frown. The gaze. The luminous stare.

Smoke from the incense curls, shapes itself against the archways, rubs against the

poem

And in the outer world, the first, something smooth and wet. An
     X
skims across the tops of the crests in a succession of skips. The
     longest
holds its space in the air, pauses, then descends into what is a cool
     sleep.

X and all the faces of backlit animals gaze downward

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