Because My Son Cannot Write This:



Do you understand

that you were

Someone who understood him?

That he stood taller

Wanted me always to send to you

The work he’d done

That when you commissioned him

And paid him for his drawings

By buying him paints and brushes

Well, he was never prouder

An eight-year-old pride

That can barely be described


(The bridge. The pause. This is the blank space

in our lives where you chose door number 3—

there is a simple woman there, it’s not complex

she leaves the television running, her kid throws tantrums

take her to Oprah’s couch , she’ll be fine

the air isn’t clear but it’s constant , she’s as familiar

as your mother, in fact maybe it’s her—did you notice that need?

and  you were your father for so long.)


FYI: We are still hiding in the forest;

there’s no road to our door;

it hurts to breathe up here;

yes, it’s that fucking clear;

we are parked in front of the fireplace in sleeping bags,

because we get weather here

surviving is our constant,

—but back to the poem…)


Recently, he was cleaning up his room

No new toys while the old are piled

In excavation heaps

A landfill on linoleum

My son knows the drill

He brought the thrift store bag to me

And it had everything

you ever gave him

A stuffed animal at his birth

The last happy meal toy

What was left of the dried up paints

From that moment you

Believed in him,

Showed him you understood

Him to be him.


And I had no words—

I’m not that kind of liar.

How can you tell a kid

Who loved somebody

He didn’t choose you?


About margaretelysiagarcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia primarily writes fiction, essays and poetry from a remote corner of the Sierra Nevada. She's currently working on a non-fiction book about plus-sized modeling. She's also searching for a publisher for her new collection of stories? Mary of the Chance Encounters. Her short story collection Sad Girls & Other Stories out now on Solstice Literary Press. She blogs here and at Throwing Chanclas and Girl Body Pride. Is a contributor to Hip Mama Magazine. She writes the zine The Adventures of Sad Girl with her daughter, Paloma. She’s a three-time director of the national Listen to Your Mother Show in Plumas County ( She has an alternative women’s music show Milkshake & Honey on Plumas Community Radio (
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