by Richanda Grant
A part of you is dead. A limb torn off, gone. Tendons and veins and muscles dangle in the air, exposed for the very first time.
This is the after and you live in it. The first day is shock. Cold dread clenches your heart. You have a headache, you cannot eat. You scour Facebook, Twitter, Huffington Post, Slate, CNN. You see and hear the echoes, you receive the texts and emails. This is no comfort because you have just learned there really is another side, a set of people that have made this reality. It’s the moldy leaves underneath the crisp ones. The green/gray fuzz growing on the bread loaf. The sudden, hard bite when you accidentally strike the pit of an olive and it splits your tooth.
Grief is next. Today your heart is muffled, and the beat is slow. Tears. The bare hatred in a spray painted swastika. A woman’s hijab ripped off in a Target. Shouted slurs, whispered slurs, written slurs. A sickening boldness. Get over it, you hear. Join us, you hear.
The important part comes next. This will be the only part that matters.
You remember thinking about World War II, about what your life would look like in a concentration camp, in an internment camp. You have thought about what you would say and do if you were in England, if you were in Italy. If you were a Jew. If you were a German. You have wondered about these hypothetical situations, wondered if you were brave or a coward. If you had it in your heart to fight. If you would ever touch fire, go to battle.
It is the third day. You are witnessing the start, and you cannot be silent. You will join the Resistance. You will braid the grief into the shock into fear and wear it every day. You must start a fire. It must be in your heart, and it must consume you. You throw your lost limb on top of the fire and watch the fire grow.
Richanda Grant is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has appeared in Blue Earth Review, and Illumination Journal. She blogs on rishenda.com