bulls vs. suns, 1993

for my dad

sitting on your lap watching your eyes
follow the bouncing basketball
and my heart was a hundred basketballs
dribbling mad love for your arms
hugging me, throwing me into the air
and catching me again when Marv Albert
exclaimed here’s Paxson for 3
yes and love was your fists closed
and not fighting for once, your fists
fireworks above your head,
the way you said Paxson
with a mouthful of joy, and my heart
was shooting a thousand jump shots
in an empty gym, heart running layup drills
and looking for you in the bleachers,
heart loving what you love, damn, my heart
running suicides to be in your heart’s hall of fame

José Olivarez is a Chicano poet and educator. Born on the south side of Chicago and raised in Calumet City, IL, he is a graduate of Harvard University and a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors. He has taught writing workshops and performed at schools, universities, and poetry slams across the country. His work has appeared in The Acentos Review, The Harvard Voice, and Chicago Public Radio. José can be reached at josegolivarez@gmail.com or on twitter at @jayohessee.