Emerging BIWOC Poet Spotlight

This monthly series features poems by women of color in the early stages of their publishing careers. It is our intention to create more space at Perugia for the work of poets who are Black, Indigenous, and women of color (BIWOC). We hope using our platform to celebrate this work will expand the readership of the poets we spotlight. This series aligns with Perugia’s mission to support and promote emerging women poets; featured poems will be from poets with no more than one published full-length collection. We’d love to hear from readers with suggestions for poems & poets to feature.

June 2024 Poet: Daniela Paraguya Sow

Photo by Elizabeth Domingo

I Can Only Trust the Spin

Sometimes, the jar holds just what we need—
string, charms, stickers, beads.
I pencil-trace "lemonade stand" on a yellow poster board
for my daughter to flood with pink and green markers.
I learn how to lemon, how to jaw open the chalkboard stand,
how to silver-twisty tie up the beaded bracelets
she will sell to friends and strangers, how to charm
and say this is what the warm summer
of me needs
—my arms cradling signs and plastic pitchers.
Daddy's got table, chairs, and cooler, ice cubes pooling
at the bottom. We blast music to the dust dance from scuffed
shoes, we holler and grin at every person passing.
Our girl basks in pride and glee, sweeping up dollars, keeping
the change and blessings. I wish my mother could see
this mixed blessing of ours, but it's like how the moon
and earth will never touch—trust the spin and temporal rise,
relax on axis, know they belong to each other. I remember
my mother's love, this tether, this tug,
this buoyancy to which I rock myself. So I don't stop blending
lemonade powder with water—our daughter spoons
the jug, says good enough. We happily pour into cups. She straws
and ices every order. There are no labels or borders
this afternoon—only pure kindness from strangers and neighbors.
For once, no one questions she is from the half of me,
the half of him, a waning gibbous setting in. I am trusting the spin.


Half Moon Rising, Kelsay Books, 2024 (originally in Sky Island Journal, copyright 2022, D.P.S.)

Poet Bio

Daniela Paraguya Sow was born in New York City, New York, and she was raised in Angeles City, Philippines, and in parts of Southern California. She and her family currently live in San Diego, where she serves as faculty in the English Department at Grossmont College. As an active member of the college, she coordinates events for the Creative Writing Program and the Asian & Pacific Islander Committee. She holds a BA in Literature with a minor in Women Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from San Diego State University. Passionate about spoken word poetry, she has formerly competed at the National Poetry Slam. Her poetry has appeared in Mixed Asian Media, The Plentitudes Journal, The Hyacinth Review, West Trestle Review, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, entitled Half Moon Rising, was published by Kelsay Books in May 2024.

To learn more about Daniela Paraguya Sow, visit her website.