Scout & Birdie
Scout & Birdie


What if
I am wrong
about everything?

I don’t want to begin
with the obvious
– politics –
the personhood of corporations,
the right to life or to take it just as freely,
the unfettered access to metal objects designed to kill –
though this tribalism tempts.

What if my wrongness
begins at the basics:
waking up in the morning,
sun-greeting, stretching,
and drinking coffee? 

Waking cannot be avoided
– if one is to live –
and sun is required for vitamin D,
and stretching might fall in the “harmless” column,
but the coffee
– supposedly fair trade, but who knows –
that could be the first mark against me.

I also drink it black,
which I would suggest
to be a matter of taste. 

Next up:
running, eating breakfast, showering,
and getting dressed:
– innocuous human activities –
but dicey in the details!

My regular run loops through clean streets
with few homeless people;
my breakfast includes avocado toast
with hard-boiled egg;
my daily hot shower
– a luxury already –
occurs in a brand-new renovated bathroom
with custom $2,500 glass door;
and getting dressed means picking
from 600+ discrete wardrobe combinations.

Already you have a picture of me
informed by your own judgments
she is one privileged motherfucker
– or you may shrug –
you’ve seen much more than this,
these details don’t even seem
worth mentioning.

Still I’ve not described
my thoughts, my friends, my church, my hobbies, my buried passions and unsung dreams,
the deepest darkest corners of my childhood, my wildest hopes, my sins, my kin. 

Where then did I start
to go wrong
– exactly? –
or where am I going right?

Where do my politics intersect
with my predilections
for hot showers or fair-trade coffee?

How does eating avocado toast influence
my feelings about climate change?

And does my run
through high-priced real estate affect
the way I treat my neighbors?

How do my everyday
surroundings and habits
shape my opinions
about things I’ve never experienced:
gun ownership,
police brutality,

I could be terribly


About the artist...

Emily Madapusi Pera is a writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Her poems and stories have been published by Tuck Magazine, Litro, Dissident Voice, Storgy Magazine, A3 Review, and Scout & Birdie, among others. She is a native of Chicago.