The hits just keep coming.
That’s what I said to my white husband
when he asked me if I was okay,
me wiping tears away as I headed
to the shower. Getting ready to attend
a benefit for Planned Parenthood,
still wondering if I should head
to the airport instead, join the protests
at O’Hare for those who had gotten
on a plane with legal rights,
and had those rights, that safe status,
stripped away in transit. I had
been holding it together all day,
ignoring the house and my family,
compulsively reading the news,
posting and reposting information
in the hope that it might help.
I was doing okay, teary but
okay, until a conservative friend
said the wrong thing — she wanted
to be helpful, but it was unintentionally
cruel. That turned out to be the straw
that broke me, the unexpected punch
in the gut from an ally — I’d been braced
for the declared enemies. I almost
stayed home, curled up in bed with covers
pulled over my head and my children
tucked around me, insulation against
a breaking heart. Crying in the shower
helped, though, and I pulled myself
together, dressed in bright colors instead
of mourning black, went to the benefit
and drank wine and shared fellowship
with a hundred neighbors who had
given their time and their money and
their love to support the marginalized,
the ones in danger. Eight days into
this presidency; I spent most of the day
feeling like an animal trapped, my back
against a wall. But last night reminded me
— we can have each others’ backs.
Circle up, people. They will come at us
and at us, from every angle. Link arms
and hold fast. They will not break us
if we have each others’ backs.
Mary Anne is a Sri Lankan born Asian American writer, academic, teacher and activist. Mary Anne writes in multiple genres: mainstream fiction, nonfiction, SF/F, and erotica. Her most recent book of fiction is The Stars Change, a novella composed of linked stories, telling the story of a university planet where war has just broken out. She also founded the Speculative Literature Foundation and DesiLit (an organization promoting South Asian and diaspora fiction).
You can find more of her work at maryannemohanraj.com.