After People Stop Asking about Me

— Kyle Dargan

But everyone asks how is it to raise a daughter within
                        this hissy fit christened Trump’s America. My daughter’s
breach into life: five months after that vote, that incision.
                        She is eighteen-months-old now. Can count her own
way to sixteen. Knows maybe thirty animals. Orange
                        or any other color remains as of yet un-coded
in her mind. She does not see any of this. Her world
                        is chirping “bye-bye” to the bubbles in her bath
before she sleeps. Yes, it is harder than you might think
                        to teach a being concepts you cannot recall
learning yourself. Repetition is useful, as is multisensory
                        reinforcement. So raising my daughter in this moment,
that is what it feels like—finding so many ways to repeat
                        one concept until it implants and she commands
a new pathway for communing with the world. It is work
                        but it does not break me. In fact, I feel spared
the now until we are engaged in something innocent
                        like a ride on the kiddie train through Wheaton
Regional Park. Not rearing, just cradling her legs in my lap—
                        those instances                         when I regain my selfish
mind, its capacity to ponder how many years it might take
                        to make an America in which my kiddo can count
on having fewer rights than her grandmother enjoyed,
                        or her great-grandmother who lived a life of dodging
dangerous men—even after she’d joined the police, kept a sidearm.
                        But who wants that escaping my mouth?
Instead I just point towards trees flanking the tiny tracks,
                        beckoning, “Hoo’s that? Yes, baby. It’s an owl.”

Read more from Issue No. 18 or share on Facebook and Twitter.