skiing is a dream
found in powdery wide slopes
skiing is a dream
found in powdery wide slopes
what really matters
is that he enjoys hot springs
to fit in with us
Bruce learned to ski from up high
into a new life
a drain drained our resources
and worsened our debt
my girls adjusted again
to life’s challenges
we were given the rare chance
to make a difference
we traveled through the country
searching for ourselves
we’ll make a better life
everywhere we go
“Hiking? In the forest? No. Only to look for firewood to cook our food. Not for fun.”
“Yes, I’ve ‘visited’ Mexico. I was there for two months waiting for the coyote.”
“In a room the size of this kitchen there were forty of us. They gave us blankets just like that [pointing to tinfoil]. And when they had to wake someone up to deport them, they woke all of us. And they came in every fifteen minutes to wake someone.”
“Hermano, mira. Hay una lavandería aquí en la casa.”
“My 23-year-old brother wanted to come, but he can’t run fast enough.”
“He can’t run fast enough?”
“To get on the train. I saw so many… broken legs, arms. Even a body with its legs completely amputated. You have to be able to run.”
“I crossed the Rio Grande on a raft.”
“I’ve never seen a dishwasher. We had to wash our clothes and dishes by hand.”
“Eggs, beans, and rice for lunch and dinner. Coffee for breakfast.”
“My cousin bought me the plane ticket, the phone, everything. And the detention center had all of his information, so when I arrived at the airport, the police were waiting for him.”
“$250 here for strep antibiotics? In my country it’s free. Being sick here is a luxury I guess.”
I guess it is.
first: the moon and sun
second: 8.5 miles
third: a fourteener
fourth: pomapoo strength
fifth: learning to climb mountains
sixth: altitude high
between this sunrise
painted so perfectly pink
and this steak dinner
lay a fasting day
of walking, planting, napping
fifteen days, hours
Where is my place in this America? It is the question asked by millions, and so frequently no answer is ever offered. Our collective experiences often lead us to both hate and love this country. It’s a balance, a scale, ready to tip as easily towards hate as towards love.
I am a white woman. It is a blessing and a curse. It comes with white privilege and preferential treatment. It comes with the burden of white privilege and preferential treatment. Because yes, these are burdens. I participate in the historical women’s march and am demonized for the privilege the protesters are allowed by law enforcement since the organizers and protesters are primarily white. I am reminded that “white women voted for Trump” even though I am not one of those white women.
I am trapped between feeling like I want to do everything to stop the hatred that has taken over the world and feeling like no matter what I do, nothing will change. Trump will continue to sign executive order after executive order (ten so far in three business days) stripping every last one of us from our human rights. I have signed at least 100 petitions since election day. I have posted on social media. I have spoken to friends and family about my beliefs. I have supported my students as best as I can while “remaining neutral” (a requirement of the school district). I have called the Department of Justice, my senators, my congress men and women (only to be blocked, to receive a busy signal, or be directed to a full voicemail box).
Where is my place in this America? As a mother of three daughters, a wife of a white man, a teacher of refugee and immigrant students, a Democrat, an atheist, an idealist?
Because white women have betrayed me. Defriended me. Voted for Trump (58% of them??).
Because mothers don’t seem to care that we have a president who brags about grabbing women by their pussies.
Because white men (nothing like my husband)–63%–voted for a man who publicly mocked a disabled reporter.
Because Democrats voted for third party candidates instead of Clinton.
Because I spend my day surrounded by non-whites from every culture and religious belief you can imagine, and I don’t belong with any of them, other than as a figurehead to the white world that is Our America.
Where is my place in this America? I can’t seem to find it. I search in my students’ eyes, my daughters’ artwork, my husband’s anti-government views… And no matter where I look, I feel homeless. Hopeless.
I am searching for what we have lost and will continue to lose. Seeking the solace of activists and friends. Pouring myself into research and writing. Studying law and politics and fact-checking every last piece of media. Taking the time to understand how horribly impactful the violation of human rights can be, how that violation trickles from person to person until the entire society buckles under itself.
And all I can ask, all I keep asking as I am surrounded by doubt and alternative facts and fact-checkers and protests and postcards and last-ditch efforts, is where is my place in this America?
Where is yours?