Written on the Train
things I heard and saw today
November 9, 2016
The morning after election day
You let me stay home from school.
It’s the first time you ever did that.
You are usually on the train by six– gym, work, meeting,
But today, it’s different because it’s already nine
and you let us wear our pajamas to the bodega,
where you and Mr. Wong talk quietly.
Everybody on this train
Looks like they’re going to a funeral,
says the man as he gets off at Court Street,
laughing, and turning his hat around.
Cheer up, it’s still America.
Stand clear of the closing doors.
My boss’s hands flit nervously–
Whisking thin blonde hairs back,
Wrapping and unwrapping the scarf at her neck
Tucking and untucking her shirt.
She’s slammed her office door closed
three times now
But when her husband calls
she just asks him if they have an onion.
She’ll be home by six.
You already called your mom, and she said was happy for us–
You’re talking too fast, like you do
We stand on the steps of the courthouse. It’s raining.
It’s not how I wanted to marry you. In the rain. No party.
We decided months ago what we would do
if he was elected.
I went to work, without my hijab,
to give my notice.
I begged the principal not to make me say goodbye
to my students.
Because, how could I explain?
She holds my hand. Says that the kids were all crying,
and holding each other, at breakfast.
One asked her,
Will my father be sent away?
She curses under her breath. But she respects my choice.
We will be safer with my family
The older women are whispering in the kitchen
where I’m hoping to find coffee.
“He grabbed me, and they didn’t do anything. He was my boss.”
The others nod, click their tongues, let out soft sounds of affirmation.
“That’s how it was back then, remember?”