it’s true we make meaning

it’s true we make meaning
to suit our needs. check the record.

when a fat ass rat ran into the NYPD
precinct on 122nd St, i thought i understood

the scene. i make an omelet for my girl
& she never sees the pig that dies for the ham.

we smile when we eat the omelet & it’s easy
to ignore the squeals of dead pigs. the eggshells

in the trash. the plastic floating on the sea.
plastic bags caught on tree branches. are they ghosts?

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by The Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he co-edited the poetry anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. In 2019, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.