by Chris Baron

My daughter spreads pages of white paper

in between the used up cereal bowls

and orange rinds from breakfast that morning.

Along the messy kitchen table we

draw sunflowers and butterflies and spotted

mushrooms where gnomes build doorways in the trunks.


Last night, I remembered I can’t do this.

I just yelled at her.

Tired, distracted, a cruel, careless word,

her feathery weight in my arms, her chin

pushed into my shoulder, her eyes wet, with

silent fear because my voice pressed her down,

too tough on her spirit animal dance

before bedtime, her request for one more

of anything I had to give.


Did we forgive each other in dreams?


I wait for her to draw her usual snake,

or fox at the edge of the field in tall grass,

but instead she draws the orange and blue

butterfly, the fairy light through wings,

the one she says that came to her

in deep night dreams.


This is you, she says.


crayon streaks to the edge of the field,

and she is not afraid of me at all.

She points to the sunflower, holds my hand.


The butterfly doesn’t remember its

Chrysalis when if falls. Just starts again.

Chris Baron is Professor of English at San Diego City College.  Baron has published numerous poems and articles in magazines and journals around the country, performed on radio programs, and participated in many readings, lectures, and panels. He grew up in New York City, but he completed his MFA in Poetry in 1998 at SDSU. Baron’s first book of poetry, Under the Broom Tree, was released in 2012 on CityWorks Press as part of Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems.  (Which won the San Diego Book Award for best poetry anthology). Chris is also the Middle Grade author of WEIGHT, (working title)  a novel in verse from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan/Spring 2019. He is represented by Rena Rossner, from the Deborah Harris Literary Agency.