by José Olivarez
i wake in a field of wolves with the moon
howling & smack my lips.
i know no love without teeth
& have the scars to remember.
trace those scars & you have a map
to my heart. open carefully. i will not die.
i know i have teeth of my own.
there are stories about men who leave
a trail of corpses & growing bellies
i know my reflection when i see it.
i wake among the wolves
licking dirt from their paws & know
who i am when the wolves don’t attack me.
when they call me hermano & want to dap
me up. send me a full moon.
all the princesses get their crowns
burped up. you can’t find love
in those stories. let my love be a wolf.
i’ll lay my head on a bed of her teeth.
i know my love knows when to bite.
José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. A recipient of fellowships from Poets House, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, & the Conversation Literary Festival, his work has been published in the BreakBeat Poets, the Chicago Tribune, the Adroit Journal, The Rumpus, & Hyperallergic, among other places. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, will be released in September 2018 from Haymarket Books. He is from Calumet City, Illinois, and lives in Chicago.