Try to Understand

By Clara Olivo

My autistic brain
is not broken or wrong
just wired differently than most of the world’s.
And in this neurotypical landscape,
I must blend in with the broad strokes
that paint the palatable picture you see before you.

The beauty is in the details
the truth between the lines.
Shaping this multifaceted gem
shimmering bright,
blinding your eyes from the truth
that dwells beneath the diamond smile
and stoic facade.

My therapist says
I hide it well.
The mask comes on seamlessly
second nature and often
unbeknownst and automatically. 
I’ve had years,
to perfect who you want to see. 
The person I’ve grown
to painfully believe
I need to be.

An entire lifetime,
 past and present ripped away.
Hidden through history,
medical records, misdiagnoses,
extreme attempts to silence and suppress
the glory that I hold in this mind of mine.

This world is determined to
silence my voice,
grind my bones into the ground,
forcefully fit me into boxes of mediocracy and meritocracy.
My body and mind an act of resistance
from the inside out.
Where the ashes will rise and fill the air,
calcifying the essence of my spoken word
in the tender lining of your lungs.
My words speaking through your tired breath,
realizing themselves into crystalline shards
of poetic truth and the justice that only my words can bring me.
Poetry is the only time I can show you
the truth of who I am.
It’s in the nuances,
the repetition,
The truth of who I am?
Poetry is the only time I can show you

This poems is one of many in Clara Olivo’s debut book/poetry collection, The Whisper, The Storm and The Light In Between from Alegria Publishing.

Clara Olivo (she/her/ella) is an Afro-Salvi poet living in diaspora. Born and raised in South Central LA to Salvadorean refugees, Clara weaves history and lived experience, creating transcendental poetry that amplifies ancestral power and pride. Writing for her lost inner child, Clara steps into her poetry with the intention of healing the hurts of her past and inspiring hope for the future. Since finding her voice, she has performed in open mics and art receptions from Seattle to Washington D.C. and has been featured in publications such as The South Seattle Emerald, Valiant Scribe, and Quiet Lightning’s Literary Mixtape. Clara lives in a quiet home on unceded Duwamish land with her partner, dog, and an ever-growing number of plants. You can follow her on Instagram @HijaDeMilagro and @TheDiasporicConnection and become a part of her journey.

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