Let’s Get Married

José Olivarez
Translated from the English by David Ruano González

for Alison & Nate, on the occasion of their wedding,                                & always for Erika

let’s get married on a Tuesdaywith a six-piece from Harold’s as our witness.let’s get married at noon & then again at three-thirtywhen the school day lets out & a whole blockof dandelions flower our ceremony. let’sget married under a full moon & then againunder a new moon, so every celestial beingcan witness our vows. love, one weddingisn’t enough for me. i want to proposeagain & again. on a Wednesday becauseyou did the dishes. on a Thursday becausewe woke up next to each other again. say yes.say less. i’ll be on one knee asking youto share in the delight of knowing each other.let’s get married because Chicago. becauseSt. Louis is a city on a map. because your nameis my favorite word. let’s get married becausethere are vows we can only make in the dark.because we don’t need a witness to say i do.let’s get married because it’s raining& that’s supposed to be good luck. mi amor,mi cielo, mi vida, let’s get marriedin every language we can & can’t speak.under every god. my god, the way you lookat me is a miracle i believe in. becausewe get one life. one. say yes. then, say yesagain. let’s get married after we get marriedbecause underneath every word i writethere is one word i carve into every desk.one word i tag onto every building on every blockof my heart. marry me: make me (no, not complete),but a little more alive than i’ve ever been. Casémonospara Alison & Nate, con motivo de su boda,                  & por siempre para Erikacasémonos un martescon una orden de seis alitas de pollo de Harold's como testigo.casémonos al mediodía & otra vez a las tres & mediacuando la jornada escolar termine & una manzana enterade dientes de león florezca en nuestra ceremonia.casémonos bajo la luna llena & otra vezbajo la luna nueva, para que cada ser celestialpueda presenciar nuestros votos. amor, una bodano es suficiente para mí. quiero proponértelouna & otra vez. en un miércoles porquelavaste los platos. en un jueves porquede nuevo nos despertamos al lado del otro. di que sí.dímelo a mí. estaré en una rodilla pidiéndoteque compartas el placer de conocernos el uno al otro.casémonos por Chicago. porqueSi. Louis es una ciudad en el mapa. porque tu nombrees mi palabra favorita. casémonos porquehay votos que sólo podemos hacer a oscuras.porque no necesitamos testigos para decir acepto.casémonos porque está lloviendo & se supone que es de buena suerte. my love,my heaven, my life, casémonosen cada idioma que podemos & no podemos hablar.bajo cada dios. por dios, la forma en queme miras es un milagro en el que creo. porquetenemos una vida. una. di que sí. luego, di que síotra vez. casémonos después de casarnosporque debajo de cada palabra que escribohay una palabra que grabo en cada escritorio.una palabra que rayo en cada edificio en cada cuadrade mi corazón. cásate conmigo: hazme (no, no completo)sino un poco más vivo de lo que alguna vez he estado.

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José Olivarez is a writer from Calumet City, IL. He is the author of Promises of Gold and Citizen Illegal. His poetry is featured alongside photos by Antonio Salazar in Por Siempre.

Harrison Martin

David Ruano González is a Mexican poet, translator, and cultural manager based in Mexico City. He was a poetry fellow at the Foundation for Mexican Literature (2014–2015). In 2019, he founded Melancholy of Forgotten Tapes, an independent label/publishing company that publishes poetry books accompanied by sound elements in cassette form and whose first project was Mixtape, of his own authorship. Ruano is currently part of MAKE’s Lit & Luz Festival organization and publishes his own translations on his personal blog medoriorules.medium.com.

New York, New York

“Glistening. . . . Olivarez elevates small but notable moments through a sensitive, introspective speaker who must learn tough lessons on the streets of Calumet City. . . Bilingual readers will enjoy flipping back and forth to see how the prism of each poem changes its hue in the light of another language.”
Booklist starred review

“The truth is: Technically, I don’t understand poetry. I never have. I miss everything in it. It’s a language I can’t process. And, for me anyway, that’s what makes Jose special. Because when he writes poetry, I don’t need to understand it—at least, not in the traditional sense—because I FEEL it. I feel his words under my fingertips like velvet. I feel his words in my chest like I’m looking at a painting that moves me in a way I can’t fully explain. And, again, for me anyway, that’s more important.”
—Shea Serrano, bestselling author of Hip Hop (And Other Things)

“Visceral and moving.”
—Kate Baer, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of What Kind of Woman

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