Your kind

February 24, 2017

Delete your phone before you travel, he said. I’ve heard they’re checking them at the border.

Why should they care about my phone? she asked. I’m not who they’re looking for.

Sure, he said. You’re not the person they’re looking for now, but what about when they run out of those people? At some point, your kind comes on the list.

She had not needed to think about her kind before, but she could imagine herself in a lineup with certain people. She could see how she might be passed over in the search for someone to take away.


Stapler creative

February 23, 2017

Do you have your stapler? I asked.

I am nothing if not creative, she replied.

We were only calling to talk about our weekend plans, but in this new world, even those needed encryption. We didn’t want someone following us to our local watering hole. We did not want to hand over our phones, our identification, our passports, our identities.

So, like spies, we exchanged authentications, assuring each other, for the moment, that we were safe, that our conversation was our own, that we had done everything we could to make sure nothing happened to us along the way.


On the track

February 22, 2017

There are those, I know, who fought battles and lost for years before now, and who were already tired before the talk of walls and repeal and replace and fake news and bans. There are those who were bone-tired before we ever got to this.

This is no relay race. Entering this track means continuing, no matter how tired our legs, no matter how raw our lungs.

I may not have been here soon enough, but I am here now, and I will stay alongside you who have run on for a long time until I cannot run anymore.


Police state

February 21, 2017

From the window high above Oakland, I saw helicopters hovering over the part of town where people gathered for the women’s march. Then, I noticed a small plane making a wide turn where the city met the estuary, and I watched it make a low, lazy circle, curving back toward where I stood, then looping back down and around.

Surveillance plane, I told my father after its third go-round.

What do you think they’re looking for? he asked.

Maybe they’re jamming cellphones, I replied. It’s just part of the deal now. We live in a police state.


Tidal cycles

February 20, 2017

The tides cycled in and out that weekend, and they felt like the most certain thing she’d seen in weeks. Everything else had gone off-rhythm, the new order of things creating a flapping noise in her ears every day like the sound a flat tire makes as the car limps to the next exit on the highway.

Can I stay here forever? she asked as the water receded, baring sea grass and mud, crusty undersides of docks.

No, whispered the water. But, I go away and return, and so can you, when the time is right.


Just money

February 19, 2017

How much does it cost to throw a nuclear war? he asked. This was the sort of question they’d come to expect, even so early in his tenure, even given that several of them were allegedly giving him advice on a regular basis.

$14 billion, give or take, said the lone general invited to the meeting. I mean, I don’t know that for sure, but that’s what I’m ballparking, if you don’t account for human life. The general nodded to underscore everything he said.

We can make that again, right? he said. It’s just money.



February 18, 2017

The rain is washing California bare, drawing out the mud that holds up spillways and trees. Why it’s raining? my son asks, and then he answers, Because the clouds are full of water.

So many of my people are inundated, the wash of bad news eroding their strength. We are sodden with worry, making calls with damp fingers, sending postcards into an impenetrably murky swamp.

Will we see the sun again? Will the clouds empty? I have my own questions. I don’t have answers. I am too busy filling sandbags as the rain erodes what’s left of my hope.