by Hannah Truslow
january 21st, 2017.
six AM, my friends and i get up.
we’re hoping to beat the crowd
eight AM, and already things are out of control.
the line from the McDonalds bathroom wraps around the block
ten AM, the air is charged.
the women’s march on washington:
the largest single-day protest in this country’s memory.
history in the making,
and i’m here to witness it
winter break ended a week ago.
during my time at home, i came out to my mom,
not for the first time.
she already knew i liked girls, but the nonbinary thing was new –
not just in relation to me personally, but in general.
she’d never heard the word before.
truth be told, it was new to me too.
but explaining you’re not a boy or a girl requires you to front a little
make yourself out to be an expert, and people respond better.
twelve PM, i’m elbowed on both sides
twin jabs from my friends, pointing gleefully, laughing.
in the distance, putin and trump canoodle in caricature.
my pride pins, my rainbow bracelets –
they wilt, drop to the ground, are trodden upon
two PM, i’m blindsided
a stranger slaps a sanitary pad, painted bloody, into my hand
“we are nasty women,” she says, “power to the pussy.”
my uterus shrivels inside of me, cowed by paradox
four PM, i’m stopped
someone wants a picture of my sign,
hand-lettered, neon bright and jagged-edged:
FUCK TRUMP FUCK PENCE
“this is cute,” he says.
in that moment, i am toothless
my mom, she’d been set on going to the march since it was announced
she and my aunts had it all planned out
me, i was wishy-washy
i had left womanhood behind
did that make me infiltrator, interloper?
in transitioning, was i betrayer?
six PM, i’m bristling
with each needle-stick she, each ma’am, each her:
my porcupine-quill collection, skin sore
and they cannot see the marks
eight PM, i try not to slip.
the president’s yard is muddy,
sodden with these women’s satisfaction.
my “friends” will not know to catch me
obviously, i ended up going
a friend of mine was from the suburbs outside d.c.
her mom picked me and two other friends up, let us stay the night at their house
she couldn’t come to the march,
but she was thrilled on our behalf.
“this is history,” she said, “you can say: i was there”
ten PM, it’s dark in her room.
all i can do is breathe.