Geschichten aus Kalifornien

One Twenty, Twenty-one

Is the sun brighter? The air lighter? The sky wider?

A blanket I did not know I carried was lifted.

The first tears roll down my cheek when a woman in uniform pledges allegiance to this country not only in words but in sign language.

I watch in awe the young poet, fierce, in a yellow coat and red headband, her hands punctuating every line like birds in the winter air.

Her words and voice pierce through my heart, they sever and slash, soothe and caress, whip me awake.

Tell me to take

responsibility and help make

this world whole and united.

Remember her name

not just her fame

or her performing

It is Amanda Gorman.

She makes me want to be better, choose my clothes more wisely and my words, comb my hair with

intentions, and put on makeup with purpose as a sign of my appreciation for the world and the people I encounter, to honor the life given to me and those who came before who made it possible.

While snow turns to sunshine, I hope that at the White House a shaman burns sage in every room, hallway, and nook, that a band of enthusiastic helpers opens each window as wide as they can and let in the fresh air, wipe off desks, phones, remote controls, plates, and silverware, not only change curtains and rugs, pictures and busts but also bring in new towels and sheets, mattresses and toilet seats.

The world in front of my window is not different from what it was yesterday. The neighbor still gets coffee at Starbucks in her pajamas. The dogwalker still wears a mask with cat faces. My friend still signs papers to sell her Malibu house and move overseas to Scotland. Birds still welcome the morning's warmth with chirps soliciting love in the feral bougainvillea.

I still make to-do-lists. I still write a poem. I still feed the puppy.

But on this morning, my shoulders are unburdened, my spine is relaxed, my back straight, and my heart soft.

I can sense the silver lining.

I know there is light, and that we will free it.

Today, I can see it, and yes -

I can be it.

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