Mimi Plevin—Foust

Almost a Poem About Shopping

Southeast · Shaker Square · Poetry

I am trying not to write a poem
about the one-year-old who was killed
by the three-year-old
two days ago in my fair city of Cleveland—
all because someone left a loaded gun
in a house full of kids.

I would rather write a poem
about shopping. People might enjoy
a poem about shopping.

If I wrote a poem about the joys
and challenges of shopping,
no one would have to read
that Braylon Robinson—a baby boy
who was “always smiling”—
died in the ambulance
after being shot in the head.

If I wrote a poem about how
hard it is not to buy all
the colorful dipping bowls at Target,
then I would not have to remember
that Braylon’s mother will never
get to buy him a little backpack
for his first day of school.

I wonder what kind of poem
might soothe the heartache
of a nation trapped
in an undeclared war
where too many of us have loved
someone who was shot?

What kind of poem
could stop that heartbreak?
I would like to write it.

Mimi Plevin-Foust

Over her career, Mimi Plevin-Foust has been a poet, glass artist, screenwriter and filmmaker with an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU. Mimi’s poetry, screenplays and articles have been published by Carve Magazine, Fourteen Hills, LearnVest/Forbes.com, POZ Magazine, and more. In 2017, she won the Gordon Square Review Poetry Contest for her poem “On the Anniversary of the Kent State Shootings.” After living in New York City and New Jersey for many years, Mimi moved back to her hometown of Cleveland where she shares a 106-year-old house with assorted Airbnb guests and her husband, daughter, and cats.


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


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325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

Project Presented with Support By the Cleveland Public Library

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit cpl.org.