(written just after the 2016 Presidential election)
When the kids were little (and before the internet), we spent hours in the library each week. Dashed out to the car with coins, not once, but twice, even though we all promised: “Only an hour on the meter this time!” Filled growing arms with piles of books even though we brought the beefy canvas tote and committed, ahead of time: “10 books each is plenty!”
Inside the library, there are still places, long neglected by my feet, which are so familiar to me. Stacks and rows, like old friends… 100s, 200s, 300s, 600s. Places where I opened my world, narrowed my world, explored my world, defined it as a new mother, as a mother beginning to reclaim herself, as a woman stepping forward.
There is the table in the mezzanine where I sat working while my kids were at school. There is a view of the town. Of cars passing. Of leaves falling. Of first flurries.
And inside–readers & writers & viewers & nappers, of all ages, and race.
There are those who always vote. Those who never vote. Those who voted democratic for the first time. Republican for the first time.
We all remain quiet.
(Most of the time.)
We share tables and chairs and computers and books.
i pulled the socks from his feet and rubbed peppermint cream into his soles, while his father went in search of tylenol. and as i rubbed, i said to myself, whose feet are these? they’re so huge! even the toes! and i wondered, was I wrapped in his feverish delusions too? and later, when we brought him into our bed, and he tucked his shivering body against mine, and i wrapped my arms around him like i had when he was a boy, i was surprised to find a broad back and big boned shoulders, and i reached further still to be sure i wasn’t touching my husband; while my baby, at 16 & a half to the day, oblivious to his child-to-giant transformation, went on tossing and turning and sweating, between us, until we brought him to the shower, and his father, seeing his body, as if for the first time, said to me: how have we missed this?
While our 17-year-old set out to march, my husband and I opted for our regular Saturday morning practice on the mat, surprised and touched to find our longtime teacher speaking to the day’s events, not just at the opening of class but into the practice, naming the young voices he admired so much–Emma Gonzales and David Hogg–and choking up as he talked about the Stoneman Douglass Ice Hockey team, so that I when I found myself, supine, in Baddha Konasana–hips and heart wide open–tears slid down & around my cheeks, and into my hair, and onto my mat, without thought, without attachment or emotion, and continued as I came into a twist, and later, off the mat, and into the day, I was struck again, as I was on Valentines Day, at how precious the sight of each and every teenager, and I understood that it is not only our relationship with masculinity and guns that will be transformed but our hatred of our young as they come of age.