Diaspora Sonnet 55

Oliver de la Paz

Broth of boiled cloth and acid hands, knucklesraw from wringing suds and swinging denimby fistfuls up and out of the basin. Grimeof steam and grease stains blotted out. Rowsof hangers on garment conveyors marchingshirt after shirt garnished in plastic and the heatfrom the press to flatten out collars and sleeves.In a different country I might have been royalty.That glow of my skin in the heat, a hidden sealon an envelope. I live in a republic of hangers.I let the fabrics warm my blistered skin. I letthe presses rejoice in silks and the seersucker blazer.Inside the roar of the dryer, I can shoutmy name, perfect, sequined, and neatly pressed.

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photo of Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz is the author and editor of 7 books. His newest book, THE DIASPORA SONNETS is forthcoming from Liveright Press (2023). He is a recipient of grants from the NEA, NYFA, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and The Artist’s Trust. A founding member, he serves as the co-chair for the Kundiman.org advisory board. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the low res MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University.

Cover of The Hopkins Review Spring 2022

Spring 2022

Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

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