The Day After

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I didn’t see
Who put the Trump signs on the public lawn
Across the street from my house.

That lawn is a no man’s land.
A triangle of grass
That used to have a tree
Now it is just a divider
For the two main roads in town.

But my daughter watched
The night before election day
As the car stopped
The man got out
Planted two of them.

In the morning they appeared
The way he does
Guilty and defiant at the same time

I didn’t want to take them down.
Here’s why:
On my side of the street,
I have planted so many Black Lives Matter
Signs I can’t keep count
They are taken
And I keep putting them back,
Closer and closer to my house

Last week my Clinton Kaine sign
Was twisted and shoved
On the inside of my fence

What’s at stake
Always:
The rules of the game
Not the winners and losers

And so I want to play fair.
I left the signs on the triangle.
“Take them down!” my kids shouted.
“Take them down,” our piano teacher said. “Do you want me to do it?”

I said, “It’s not my land. We have freedom of speech. And Gandhi always said,
‘Tyrants always fall. Always.’”

We stayed up as long as we could bear it
On election night.
We made a cake
In the shape of the electoral college
We filled it in with raspberries and blueberries

I’d bought too many blueberries
And no one felt like eating cake.

We went to bed
Anxious

Surely the cities were counted last
Surely the rabbit would come out of the hat
Surely this was the world I knew

I knew. Even in the unwired night, I knew.

In the morning
The phones told us
My son wept
My daughter denied,
Looked for loopholes
And rabbits
We polished up our speeches
We held them while they cried
And made them play their violins.

When I opened the door
To the new world
The Drumpf signs were gone.

Nerissa Nields
Nov. 9, 2016

This poem was written as part of 30 Poems in November, a benefit to raise money for Center for New Americans, a Western MA organization that provides welcoming services and literacy for recent immigrants. For more information, or to sponsor me, go here

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