Monday, September 12, 2016

my toenails, my america

if this were all equal
my toenails would be prettier.
or painted.

if we were all made equal,
there would be more women with thinner lips or fuller lips.
more short, bald men or more thick haired tall men.

if we were all equal,
my father would never have called gay men 'sodomites'
and he would have talked to me about finding the right man or woman.
because if we are all equal,
both are equally possible.
he would never have called ellen, ellen degenerate.

if we're all equal, all my sisters would have pursued their education
with the same vigor they pursued dating.
they wouldn't stay a day with an abusive husband.
in fact, they would never have given that guy a chance.

maybe abusive men wouldn't exist if we were all equal?

if there was real equality,
my neighbors wouldn't need to sell drugs
and wouldn't throw garbage in the street.
we wouldn't have to drive a half-hour to find a Whole Foods
and dollar stores wouldn't decorate every corner.

if things were really equal,
my niece would have had the same number of fans at her volleyball championship
that my nephew had at his soccer tournament.

if we were all equal,
there would have been a Jewish president,
a black president,
a woman president
way before 2008.
we started presidenting in 1788.
that's 220 years of white men leading.

if we are all equal,
i wouldn't be afraid to hold my partner's hand in public
and her father
and her father
and her father wouldn't worry about his little girl being judged or harmed for who she loves.

who am i kidding?

we are a nation built on a notion of equality for all
yet in 2016, we are invading the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,
(this time with an oil pipeline.)
we are shutting down planned parenthood
giving Brock Turner an early release
and letting a racist run for presidency.
we are killing black men and black boys and defending the right to do so.
we are serving our children sugar for lunch,
and calling ketchup a vegetable.

i am staring at my toenails painfully aware they will never be beautiful.
but i trim them.
i tend the cuticles,
and i clean them.

i take care of my toenails
and i vote.
somehow, it feels a bit the same.

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