Diaspora – by Oliver de la Paz

The hull answers to no one except

tidal winds. Manta rays, tall as billboard letters

stitch the ship’s underneath metal parts. Their fin-tips name


each rivet. Call this one “country.” Call this

“Orient.” We are the hazards ribboning into

the galley. Dark seams, the staccato of harbor lights

through port holes.


The knowable world is a mountain. It is

a mountain. And the low place within is named

“dwelling.” Inside we hear water shake the frame.


We hear the steps of someone coming forward.

A calamity, of sorts. Then a man opens the door and fish

spill like bright coppery nerves.oliver




Oliver de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, and Post Subject: A Fable. He also 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. Additionally he serves on the Executive Board of Trustees for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.



Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.