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.

About Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and lead playwright of Las Pachucas, theatrical troupe. She teaches creative writing and theatre in a California state prison.
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