The Morning After the Election
The morning after the election, we
converge, as usual, on the bus stop: three
commuters with no commonality
except our silent shared dependency
on public transportation. I don’t know
the other two commuters’ names, although
each day for weeks we’ve stood here in a row,
craning our necks to watch the bus’s slow
climb up the skinny, frog-cold, fog-wet lane.
Overnight, something in the air has changed:
the gusts that leave the yellowed weeds deranged
now make us tremble for an unexplained
split-second longer than before. The square-
backed woman in black wool stands just a hair
more near to me than previously, to share
warmth. I smile shyly, prompting her to bare
a crescent of white teeth, though her black eyes
in her black face stay somber. To my right,
the other bus-stop regular, a light-
skinned girl with wiry spectacles and tight
glossy curls, ventures, voice soft as velour:
“You ladies think it’s gonna snow?” “Not sure,”
I answer. We discuss the temperature;
the curly girl is scared she can’t endure
New Hampshire’s famed harsh snows: until July,
she lived in Georgia. “Moved for work,” she sighs.
I give my name; “I’m Sahja,” she replies.
A surge of fellow feeling warms the sky
around us three: a fragile, tender flutter.
In this new world, we must protect each other.
Jenna Le‘s two poetry collections are Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Anchor & Plume, 2016). She is a physician and a daughter of Vietnamese refugees. Her website is www.jennalewriting.com.