Poem 1: My Daughter & Sei Shonagon

Sometimes I make lists

she tells me

when I don’t know what to say

Sometimes I hate my words

once they are on paper

I think why are they so

not what I meant?

My daughter is 8 and she tells me these things

as I hold her hand and we cross busy intersections

My husband has taken our son to see a movie

with sweat and muscle and guns and they both know

that I am upset that they’re watching 

the other porn of young men

that PG-13 violence more 

harmful than any breast shot ever was

But my daughter and I stroll Columbus Avenue

watching as cops carry crazy homeless women 

off of gutters

watching neon lights flash the ads of

women dancing topless

watching women under heat lamps

sip straight espresso after a few morsels

of dinner salad

until you’re older I tell her

you have to wait for the light to change

I explain nothing in front of us

as we walk to City Lights

hands held tight

I tell her about Sei Shonagon instead

and the making of lists 

of beautiful things

the air of a night

after a day of rain

the arrangement of books

in the poetry room

the hanging of clothes outside

the poetry room window

the tiramisu powder lingering 

on our lips

our coveted parking space 

still there

she smiles

a walk with my mother

when we are getting along

yes. that too.

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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 (www.listentoyourmothershow.com). She has an alternative women’s music show Milkshake & Honey on Plumas Community Radio (www.kqny919.org).
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