On this day of thanks, we thank you—our readers and poets.
Today’s poem: W. S. Merwin’s “Thanks.”
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you”
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On this Thanksgiving Eve, I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m getting a date night with my husband (Thanks Mom for taking the monster), I get to see some spectacularly talented friends play some music (Go, Tennis) and I have a job I love (Love ^2 M2).
And this Thanksgiving, I think, as a society we have a lot to be thankful for.
I think we also have a lot that is still cause for pause.
Pause for the faces that still require modifiers; those of Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride. For the hundreds of people who were uninsured. For the hundreds of thousands of women the world over who are now after hundreds of years of being commodified are standing up for themselves and claiming their bodies and their personhood. For the women in Saudi Arabia who are driving for independence. For the victims of trafficking who are forced into the sex trade and never make it out.
And we are getting there. We are making strides. Still the question prevails: why must we make strides towards progress at the expense of lives? Trayvon, Malaya, Renisha, Ismael Mena and countless others continue to give their lives to expose the injustice that continues to bubble beneath the surface of our world.
It’s hard to keep this post general and still accurately describe why this year is a good year and why this Thanksgiving will have special significance for me. Maybe it’s because for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I’m apologizing for my choices as a woman, as a Latina, and as a mother.
I keep thinking of one person—Jake. My hero. My teacher. My ambassador to something bigger. Jake was aware of his Self as others saw him, but he never apologized. He never apologized for being white, being a man, being southern or being all of these things and bald. He felt the friction and he addressed it and in so doing, rose above it. It’s painful to be able to say this to you all and not to Jake himself. It’s ever more painful because Jake won’t be able to grace his family’s table with his presence, he won’t be able to pass the gravy or carve the ham. There’s so much I held back because in my youth I was afraid of Jake’s judgement—no, I was afraid of Jake’s understanding. Not that I ever found Jake intimidating, I didn’t, I actually really enjoyed pushing and sassing him, even though I doubt I ever actually made him think the way he did me. But I digress.
What is this Thanksgiving about? It’s about living without apologies, about throwing off the fetters of judgement while acknowledging the friction that I bring into the world by resisting being cataloged, analyzed and easily referenced.