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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

from the moon to the earth (after the storm)


There is the eye of the storm, and the calm before it.

There is the aftermath, when overturned chairs and downed trees block the roads. We emerge, in yellow raincoats and tall boots. We wonder if the stores are open again. There is money in our pocket for something savory, then maybe something sweet.

The wet earth smells of bee pollen and dead leaves. This time is rarely noted. It is not a moment to pick up the pen and find a scrap of paper. It is a time to take a long walk, to gaze into the distance and imagine great things there.

It is a time to stay up late.


E is growing. There is a sadness to her, a defeated expression is there when she thinks no one is looking, when I spy her on the playground alone before I take her from school. 

She paints on a smile. She makes jokes. She asks me what is for dinner. 


Sometimes it feels like we are the same person.

She knows joy. She knows love. 

She knows what sacrifice is, and how to crack an egg. 


This morning she woke up as I tiptoed into the room, my first coffee balanced in one hand. Her eyes adjusted to the bright room, a sky completely white as snow coughed from the clouds. We could not see as far as the next building.

She sighs, pulling stuffed animals and warm blankets to her chin.

"Pop." She says.
"Yeah?" I say.
"I had a dream." She continues.
A catalogue of nightmares unfolds in my imagination. A new page waits to record the newest one.
"It was a good dream." She says. "I was on the moon, and you were on the earth and I was jumping from the planets and you were catching me."
"Woho!" I say.
She giggles.
I stand, pretending she is falling from the sky and I run around the living room imagining how I catch her.





Comments

liv said…
Ahhhh, here's to good dreams, papas who can catch and your beautiful rununculus, they are gorgeous, just like your girls.

That is so encouraging that you are in her subconscious as the one who keeps her from falling. Her safety net, her hero.

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