Our daughter is a teacher, an art teacher. School started this week. Years ago during her first years of teaching, I would smile thinking about her and her students and the wonderful world each would be creating every day by doing art work, each student creating out of what they cared about, each learning from her how to bring their individual vision into being.
Now? I think about that very same possibility and hope, rather than know for sure, that it will happen once again. The school’s doors are locked; security is vigilant; everyone knows what to do in case, and during the pre-school meetings the police instructed the faculty what to do.
I know there is no evidence, no “data” that proves 45 has influenced violence’s terrible increase. All I do know is that implied permission from any leader opens the possibility for those who dementedly believe they are standing up for the hate he speaks.
I, like parents everywhere, hope every day that our daughter returns home smiling over what her fledgling artists have experienced, that they return home.
Thinking Again of My Daughter
Tonight the clouds moved on, and the stars lay
flat against the sky’s black backdrop. The moon
sat full beneath Jupiter’s deceptive white glow,
and Orion seemed to be falling headfirst toward
some anonymous emptiness. I sat on the couch,
skimming across television’s landscape, tapping
the remote like some anachronistic telegraph
operator. Flicking into the past, I saw her
watching walruses heaving their inopportune
selves onto a shoal of ice, Bugs Bunny thumbing
his twitching nose at Elmer Fudd’s exasperated
lack of r’s, music videos, Sesame Street, even
the news and the History Channel. I paused
to watch an evangelist, became as mesmerized
as she did when she first saw Mr. Rogers. I
watched his hands, how they were able to point,
to lift themselves like dumb birds toward only
the roof. I thought how my father had always
pulled my hands out of my pockets, how even
today they feel strangely vulnerable hanging
at my sides. You had lunch today with your
granddaughter. You had a salad and some
pasta. You had dessert. You took her home.
When the news comes on tonight, I’ll watch,
knowing tomorrow night the stars will have
moved. And in the morning, I will walk
the dog, trying not to pull him away when
he stops, fixes his nose on a clump of leaves.
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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.
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