"When We Got to Starbucks, Kate Said, 'Wake Up, Laura, You're in Trump's America,'" an original poem by Spokane Poet Laureate Laura Read


This morning, a man opened the door for me
and my friends and said, Chivalry is not dead
in America. It’s the morning after Donald Trump
has been elected presidentm and I am thinking
we don’t need chivalry, we need contraception,
but I just say Thank you like the school girl
I have always been. He is wearing a t-shirt
that says Easter Rising 1916, so I’m thinking
maybe he is not unsympathetic to people
speaking up against an unjust government
and then getting shot or maybe he’s just been
a tourist in Dublin where I’ve also been,
walked the same stones of that courtyard
in Kilmainham Jail where all those boys
named Patrick or James died for Ireland.
I also bought a t-shirt and went to a pub
where I hoped the beer glasses would have
handles and someone would sing Danny Boy
like my grandmother spinning me around
the kitchen. At the counter, the chivalrous man
asks us if we’re travelling for business
and we say Sort of because we don’t want to say
No, poetry, because that is always difficult,
and what we really want is for him to leave
us alone. When I order egg nog in my latte
and hope he doesn’t comment, Maya says,
Egg nog? I guess I don’t know you at all.
Once when she was a child, my mother
had a fever and my grandmother brought her
egg nog which she drank through a straw.
She rubbed her hand raw on the wood
of the bed frame and when she woke up,
her mother told her her grandmother had died.
This morning, every man looks like someone
who would never want to hurt me personally,
who thinks I am only one woman and not also
my dead grandmothers and my young mother,
her mind on fire, waiting to wake up in a world
where she once felt safe and loved.