Hour eleven: Apology: the Trump mug in my grandparents’ kitchen

It floats in the dishwater
like the eyeball of some

great beast, watching me
through grease & soap suds.

my grandmother is saying
something about the rain,

worrying about the nearby
farmers & the price of corn

in the coming months,
but all I can think about

is the children living behind
chickenwire, sleeping on

concrete floors. When I used
to stay the night, my grandmother

would bring in extra pillows
& lay down beside me until

I fell asleep, though my mother
was only thirty miles away,

though I had never gone
a night without a goodnight

kiss, my favorite stuffed
animal. What would she say

to a Syrian child crying for
their mother? Could she look

that child in the eye and call them
vermin, say that it doesn’t matter

if their home is in the belly
of a bombshell, that they
will find no safety here?
Or would she hold that crying

child & hum until they fell
asleep, put them to bed

in the guest room, line
the mattress with pillows

to protect them even as
they slept? the mug turns

in the grimy water & I wonder
how many grandparents had mugs

with swastikas that spun
quietly in the sink while they

talked about the price of corn
& if it looked like rain again,

never about what makes one child
more human than another.

One thought on “Hour eleven: Apology: the Trump mug in my grandparents’ kitchen

  1. This is a very powerful poem. I think a lot of the younger generations are fighting these sorts of feelings when talking with their parents or grandparents. The poem had good imagery so I could see it all happening. This was really good.

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