Two closed fists
filled with hot mints.  Three, an open fire.

First of June.  You ask what mother
would prefer a girl over a boy.  Pink lilacs

pressed in paper.  Blue for Gulf of Tonkin.
Black torpedoes aimed at phantoms tossing

nets into the water.  Four Immortals
rising.  Giant on his iron horse.  A prophet

from the marsh riding a golden charioted
phoenix.  Five, its whistle signaling the hour.

                         Now.  Now.  Now.  Now.  Now.

            And in the ruins of Atlantis
you find two stillborns locked in algae.

These are both my brothers.  Now.
Six gulps of air before you walk among us.






Dear paradise, 

Inside your
kitchen, one
dead honey
bee is trapped
under the fake
moss of your

A tiger lily
made from silk.
It looks
too real.

The dining
table serves
eight fat pears
petrified and
painted over

A chipped
tooth is
a chipped
tooth is
a tooth.

You close
the house
you can't
afford.  You
spill hot
coffee on
your shirt
again and
cease to
realize how
much it burns    
through all
your hearts.

The agent with
the Kate Spade
bag and Kate
Spade smile
nods as you
exclaim that
"whites Paint
is the best,
all whites the
best of best."

The agent calls
your new house,

You ask me
what that
To translate
In Viet-

I say instead
A plum. A
The floor plan
carved into
the bluffs of San
Diego.  No heli-
copter down.
No famine.  No,
No rich milking
the poor.  No
Uncle Ho, no
rescue program.
Rescue bombs.
No three decades
of overtime in
making all this
go away.

No whites
paint free
in paradise
without a

You keep
"I deserves
this.  I
deserves this!"
in the car
after I call
you, ma,
a traitor.





Dear paradise,
You deserve a better life than the sum of all my anger. A white hibiscus bending over all its weight.           We stroll from house to house along the shores of Coronado.         Stop before a climbing vine.           You fight to find the word for “fuchsia,” no word for fuchsia in your language. Best we can.        Chopped sentences and warm diluted substitutes for “welfare,” “pride,” “equality.”              How once you shat on beaches just like this, “just like dog,” you say.         Your hind legs caked in shit and blood, “where else,” you say, “ma ma suppose to go when they start                                     shooting.”





Sophia Terazawa Powder Keg.JPG



Sophia Terazawa is the author of I AM NOT A WAR (Essay Press).