Notes From A 10 a.m. Appointment

By Clara Olivo

In which our protagonist enters the Zoom room for a psych evaluation, eager and nervous to uncover the next phase of her healing journey.

The ‘doctor’ tells her,

That’s a lot of loss for someone to have experienced by your age.

Borderline personality disorder …

But it has nothing to do with your personality …

You’ve experienced significant trauma …

Care provider burnout …
… you were too young …

It’s impacted your development …

You must feel like you were robbed of your

childhood … It’s clear you have a complicated post-traumatic

stress disorder … Today it could be BPD, tomorrow it could be

ADHD … At the center of it all is your trauma.

He asks her where her family is from, she tells him El

Salvador … I’m sure that must’ve come with its own set of


She smiles,
the words “epi-ge-ne-tic trau-ma”
climb up her spine,
each letter

into the spaces

between her vertebrae,
urging her to shout
their collective


she smiles
and says nothing.

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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