Amy Shimshon-Santo: My Satchel of Girlhood



I turned back the clock

to long before yesterday

revisited the archeology

of bunny looped laces

back when my mouth

wished for whistle-ability

and hands grasped fat lead pencils

longing for the capacity

to spell an entire word

when a shout and a round red rubber ball

tossed in the air

could summon a herd of children

to play, back when being

mermaids was a real game

the magic of spit could melt

a hard chunk of color

pink bazooka, into a hollow orb

to click and pop with lips and tongue and breath


I shook a lager in my cupped hand

tossed it out across the rough pavement

my feet danced hopscotch ascension to 10

right, right,

double, right,

right, double, right

I spun around at the top

determined to return

to one

leapt off


the last square

landed back

where I started


I unwrapped

my satchel of girlhood

string, tape, old ribbon,

hand-written notes

I want everyone to know

that I have forgiven the sidewalks

for all of their cracks


I was a girl

and then a mother

each of my 37.2 trillion cells

are breathing. I am


to embrace

the success

of this moment

by singing

an anthem

to now



Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer and educator who believes the arts and culture are powerful tools for personal and social transformation. Her interdisciplinary work spans creative writing, choreography, performance, education, and urban planning. She is a poly-lingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese) who writes across genres — poetry, creative non-fiction, and social/cultural criticism. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in creative non-fiction (2017), Best of the Net in poetry (2018), and been recognized on the National Honor Roll for Service Learning. Her writing has been published by SAGE Publications, UC Press, SUNY Press, Public!: A Journal of Imagining America, Teaching Artist Journal, Tiferet Journal, Zocalo Public Square, Critical Planning Journal, Lady Liberty Lit, and Spectrum. Her performances have been presented at the Kennedy Center for the Arts and throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Amy currently is Head of the Arts Management for Sotheby’s Institute of Art at Claremont Graduate University. Prior to this role, she taught at UCLA and she directed the UCLA Arts’ ArtsBridge Program. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in urban planning (UCLA), an M.F.A. in creative writing (Antioch University), and a B.A. in Latin American Studies (UC Santa Cruz).