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groping for my robe in the dark before sunrise*



Mourning in America
B.D. Simmons

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May Your Light Shine On
S. Hillman

On Friday afternoon, I finally exercised outside. The rains came and washed away the smoke and ash. It had been more than a week since I’d taken a long, therapeutic, aerobic walk. Too long, in my opinion, but—let’s be honest—my suffering was minimal compared to those who lost their homes, their livelihoods, their dreams. I temporarily lost my mental health elixir. The restriction for staying inside was short-lived. At least this time. Thank you, Mother Earth, for doing your best to keep us healthy. We’re not so great at returning the favor. Many try. We could do better.

The cycle of news since Friday evening has enumerated  Justice Ginsburg’s humanitarian accomplishments. Her work improved the lives of many, especially women. One author identified cases that RBG had won and how those victories had eased her life. RBG removed barriers so we never had to face them. Another radio story told how RBG had used “her life’s work to lift others.” Justice Ginsburg made a difference in gender equality, women’s reproductive autonomy, affirmative action, and marriage equality. Progressive. Spirited. Confident. Playful. In service to others. Qualities I aspire to live by.

With Justice Ginsburg’s passing, I feel the Universe’s repeated request for 2020: How am I making an impact? What else can I do? How can your light shine through my work?

Maybe you’ve responded to another call this tumultuous year and are already pursuing justice in racism, food security, education, or for the environment. Thank you. You are amazing. Keep it up!

If you’re not in the fight, is this your clarion call? What is your answer?

One action I’m taking to increase equal representation in government is to help a sister-by-choice run for her state’s senate. I am learning firsthand about the political game at the local level.

How money flows through the American electoral system intrigues me: money increases the chances campaign messages will reach and persuade voters. Each and every vote matters and can change the outcome of a race. My friend’s is a contested district; her campaign is receiving tailored support to secure a win.

Collaboration is deeply feminine, and deeply effective. It is also sometimes difficult, even uncomfortable. I’ve learned over my years that without discomfort there is no change. We have worked together to craft my sister’s platform on building resiliency, investing in education, improving healthcare, and fixing infrastructure. Every message we send is grounded by an overall aim to lift up and support women. My sister is the kind of person I want influencing policy: intelligent, thoughtful, hard-working, dedicated to serving others, and seeking fairness. Not unlike Justice Ginsburg. We must show voters why choosing her for the senate seat is better for her community.

Research on my sister’s opponent has pushed me to learn government-speak, review voting histories, and craft meaningful narrative in order to most effectively persuade— to illustrate the choice voters have this election. My sister will fight for women; and she’ll win for her community. Like Notorious RBG, but closer to home.

RBG’s work was nationally focused on equality and basic human rights. Without her giant presence in the courts, we each need to step up our games. I’ll continue to come up with ideas for what else to do beyond the senate campaign. I’m going to make more calls, send more texts, inform my own vote, and put my ballot in the box early. I’m going to wash my hands, wear my mask, and protect the vulnerable. In the few, short days until the election, I’m going to walk outside, breathe in Mother Nature’s medicine, and remain hopeful that 2020 will end on a high note. I believe that together we can make progress, honor our numerous fallen heroes’ legacies, and reinforce equality, liberty, and sorority.

Justice Ginsburg, may your memory be a blessing. May your light shine on through us.


A Sunrise
M. Gerend


An Explanation, for My DaughterC. Hudak

In a small, white,
unexpectedly warm room
with a hot water bottle
on the edge of the sink

a nurse asks if I want drugs.
I say yes, for the nerves,
and as soon as her needle is out,
a school of black mobile fish
begin to swim above me.

I watch them while I wait.

When the doctor arrives
she takes a picture of inside me
but won't let me see.
How big is it? I want to know.
Five weeks.

She asks about you and
the drugs have loosed my tongue.
I can't stop talking, tell her
without stopping. You distract me so

when she reaches in,
I keep on, won't quiet through the small pinchings,
there are three
wet, red inspirations.

The doctor soothes the hot water bottle
over my belly.

It is that fast.

I breathe out, surprised.
This relief is not joy
but it is close.

Sweet heart, I chose
you. I choose you.
I choose you again.

A Pacific tide, foggy and ebb. By C. Hudak.

* The title of Issue 009 is a line from Wanda Coleman’s poem, morning.

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