He said he felt unsafe
They moved forward, together
Five hurried steps of hers to match one long stride of his,
And she talked about her new preschool friend
from down the block, excited.
But he could not hear her
over the sirens blaring in his mind
and the disappointed face she would make when she heard
she could not go inside that friend’s house
because that home, was only for mirrors,
and there was no room for newspapers –
just hollow reflections.
There was room, his mind strained, as if pulling on a muscle
if only the door was open
they could see just how important newspapers are and that without them, there is empty color.
He pictures his daughter’s face when she learns the truth
that the world has not made room for her
That when her friend is taught only to see mirrors
the friendship will be over.
That one day she will get older, and no longer wrap her small fingers
around her father’s thumb
and without her, he will be vulnerable
and every day will bring more uncertainty.
And he knows one day she will understand
and grow to inherit these feelings
and that day the world will break his heart, because it will have broken hers.
He feels her fingers grip his tighter
as they inch closer to the crowd
and in her silence, he knows
she is absorbing the magnitude of what is happening before them.
The hope that brings desperate shine to his eyes
the hope that one day they will no longer have to feel unsafe
the hope that one day the mirrors and reflections that have been hung up for so long
just might be taken down from their pedestals
to make room for some art.
When colors come together, art is what we call it.
Whether on storefronts or canvas
with spray paint or with ink
when colors swarm and swirl together,
like missing threads reunited,
Art, is what we call it.
And if there is enough room for art in this world
there is enough room for all people.
She tugs on his thumb and he squats down to her level.
She points at the crowd, her eyes wide with delight.
Because what is in front of her is not someone else’s mirror,
but something better.
A new world breaking, and coming