Diaspora Sonnet 44

My paradise is hollowed out.
I dwell within a famished basin

populated by the purpled crowns
of Russian thistle. This sage desert

is a dry throat and I am a whole nation
in my dry mouth. The summons

to reside here, a paper testament.
From the rock spouts rock and no

people and the wide blue sky
does not hold my attention. Constantly

I am bewildered by the nothing
germinating from the landscape.

I thought I would own the visual field
instead, this abandonment on my tongue.

Oliver de la Paz is the Poet Laureate of Worcester, MA for 2023-2025. He is the author and editor of seven books: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth, a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry. His newest work, The Diaspora Sonnets, is forthcoming from Liveright Press in 2023. With Stacey Lynn Brown he co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board and on the board for Poetry Daily.