This morning, I sent my best friend Annie Finch’s poem Moon for Our Daughters. The middle stanza of the poem reads: “These are our bodies’ own voices, / Powers of each of our bodies, / Threading, unbroken, begetting.” She sent back, “Overnight all my plants wilted at my desk, and I walked to my office in the pouring rain.” Outside my window, the rain came down too.
I say this now because I don’t think I’ve said enough in these last two years, and now it is too late. I woke up this morning to the news that our 45th President of the United States was a man who had hurt woman, had hurt children, was threatening to eradicate the parts of our nation that once, a long time ago, helped give us a reputation as a land of refuge for the frightened, the hungry, the displaced.
This isn’t about books, but it is about books. I am sitting at my desk now, trying to think of the right books to put on display, the books that will remind the children I work with — the confused children, the uninformed children, the nervous children of first generation immigrants — that our country is beautiful because it is colorful, because Americans can trace their ancestry back to dozens of different geographic locations, because even our national language takes its roots from an plethora of foreign tongues.
I have decided that perhaps the right answer is the oldest answer. I am making a display of folktales from around the world. I am putting Middle Eastern tales beside Latin American ones, tales from China beside tales from Peru. These are our roots, the books say. They are so close to each other, almost touching. This, I think, is the way we have to be now. Close to each other, closer than ever. Though the melting pot theory of America has unpleasant undertones of assimilation, we have to prove that together, though we look from the outside like we could not be one united nation, we fit too perfectly for any one man to break us apart. Not a melting pot, but a stew, with the flavors beautifully, inextricably melded.
At Drizzle, I will continue reviewing and reading books from unfamiliar places, people, perspectives. I will do this work because the books are beautiful, but also because stories have the unique power of reminding us who we are, and where we come from. This was their original purpose.
I hope that over the next four years, the people in this country share their stories with each other. I think during this election season, we forgot that the people on the other side are also struggling. Perhaps we were not doing enough listening, enough sharing, enough telling.
Today, I’m grieving with so many other Americans over the results of last night election. But tomorrow, I hope to step forward, to continue taking small steps to improve the world, to try to do more for those who won’t get the help or support they need under a Trump presidency.
Let’s keep each other safe. Let’s remind each other often that there is still goodness in the world. We are, in the words of Annie Finch, “threading, unbroken, begetting”. There is still so much for us to grasp on to.