by Christina Olivares

Christina Olivares

I dreamed myself close to a body before I knew I was real.
Here’s an antidote to survival: imagine a closeness where there was only cosmos.

I’d wanted it to be that tightly alone and rootless was what it must be but

then I dreamed of that specific garden at night, and
to make it beautiful, my dream-body imagined it as it is: castigated

by moonlight. Stunted and overgrown same. Smelling funky–that deplasticized green
of night trees exhaling sex sex sex

with sky clouds dripping humid, ever ever. Who’s gonna chastize a tree
for being too much? A garden or not–not a garden. No. Just syringe-speckled dirt

with too many trees, too many roots, crowding in the dark, all dead fuel or
deliverance. Up in the Bronx, the dream says, after burning. I was there with my cousins

in real life, I thought when I woke. Halfbreeds we were, in that city-owned lot
with a trippy, torn up foundation, that almost-field junkyard bordered by buildings,

babies happily siphoning earth from garbage and fingerpainting cradles
for our tender-dropped seeds. Even then I sensed my difference. The earth herself

was the muddy finger on my tongue, curious as I.
I wanted the labor and the fruit, bud and vine. To know and know. Be a girl

rearing her own damn self. This a demanding love. Dirt under nail. The garden: a thing

built, wholly burned and unburned. The un-garden, an undisciplined girl, desiring.
Simultaneous: her body construed as a wild, to be burned by some men who would.

I imagined a body close in the night.

When I opened my eyes, I was afraid to find
she called herself girl, like me. Eventually I was less afraid.

Apogee Journal

Last updated May 12, 2019