Mission Walk

I’ve tried to explain

to my daughter

who wants to know why

I have almost but not quite

cried all afternoon

it’s the ghosts, I tell her

I can’t walk near Alvarado/Guerrero

because cancer got that one

I can’t walk near Guerrero and 22nd

because oxycotin got that one

I can’t walk Valencia and anything

because the rapture got that one

In California, they make 4th graders

study the missions—

in that no slavery , no suffering sort of way–

The sky is that pure blue of San Francisco with the icy chill

and wind of things to come

the cafe is silent except for the taping of keys and every table is taken

we sit outside in the crisp air and look at palm trees

Our Lady of Sorrows, Sweet Dolores

my non-catholic child looks lost as any pagan amongst this pomp

we have no gods, my child and I

the dangerous are put to death for what they believe, for what they say

stations of the cross, the hammer of nails

and tonatzin became the lady in the azure robe

violence before beauty; violence begets beauty

The Lady  gave the peasant roses

my daughter does the right thing

she photographs all the flowers in the Mission cemetery

remarks on everything alive with color

everything that will make me — for one moment

think in terms of life, not death

erase for me baby, erase those years with your

sweet smile and your hesitant cling to my waist

erase for me, my love — bring the roses, bring the psalms.

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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