Christina Olivares is a poet and educational activist from the Bronx and Harlem in New York City. She earned her BA at Amherst College and her MFA in Poetry at CUNY Brooklyn College. She is the recipient of a 2012 Vermont Studio Center Artists Grant, a 2010 Jerome Foundation Travel and
Study Grant for Emerging Writers to Cuba, where she researched material that laid the groundwork for her poetry manuscript “Petition,” and 2008-2009 Teachers and Writers Collaborative Fellowship. “Petition” was recently advanced to the semifinalist round of Persea Books’ 2013 Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. Christina’s poems are published in Vinyl Poetry, Muzzle Magazine, PALABRA Literary Magazine, The Tidal Basin Review,
The Acentos Literary Review, No, Dear, and The Brooklyn Review. Two poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2008 and 2013, pending), and one poem has been nominated for the 2013 Best of the Net Anthology. She has participated in the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the
Voices of our Nation (VONA) conference in California.
The national cemetery sits on Honolulu the way a brain sits on top of a body,
diagrammed into lobes, or lungs—the air is clear, exquisite, diamonds in the
Imagine, Mama: in a suspended city of foreign, restless dead, a tattooed man
lawnmower over cut and cut grass. Thick scent rises like just before rain.
Avoid the northern shore during storms, when the undercurrent blossoms to
drown. Avoid likewise the mirror of earth: perhaps his killing is in me.
Section A, Site 324-I. You believe in honor, in white wars. He left you, did
back for you, laying your head on the grass beside the small white cross.
Call him, the way a poem calls you. Say, parent, I am here. I am here.