Sunday Morning: Ars Poetica

by Christina Olivares

Christina Olivares

outside the latin grocery, two crates full
of mangoes in the shape of plump commas, the size
of children’s palms. yellow-hued,
brown-freckled, here and there streaks of green,
an uncommon flush of rose. deep within my own
tendons some other fruit swells and aches,

heavy as an unsung song—tonight it’ll burst,
yield a clotted dark honey, a thin
red rain on my shorts. curled beside me, you’ll
press both hands on the razored skin
below my belly where a child could be.
i’ve started to love the body’s thunderstorm,

drug it less. limit what i feel and i’ll quickly forget
limitlessness, our shared need to be
generous or close. i choose six,
three in each hand. my cycle begins to set
teeth on the inside of my abdomen. i remember
standing on the beach in cuba once with a girl,

peeling their small ripe skins back with our mouths,
sucking the pulp then the threads from
each other’s tongues, clear down to the pit,
then throwing the pits and skins into the bright
sea & diving in afterwards. there must be groves
of mango trees down there, she said. imagine

the warm salted dark, silvered by fish nibbling their new
treasure—first unaccustomed, then expert,
their tiny fins seeking, while mangoes
float on firm stems, a cloud of planets. that day i’d fled
from language, swimming like a fool
till each limb went slack—i floated, i was just an eyelash

on the turning waves, curious about drowning—
can we say the beauty that comes into us after we go,
before we leave our lives? everything said, finally, nothing wasted, like
a finished bloom bedded into and becoming soil, a loosening blood rinsing
me clean. it’s just a dollar for all six: heft of liquid sweet.
two for me, two for you, & two for the ones who like small things.

Muzzle Magazine

Last updated May 12, 2019