A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Because the radio repeats their name
my daughter asks what a Nazi is.
I want to tell her they’re people from the past,
that they march in movies and books,
and in faraway countries her school lessons
haven’t yet charted on the map. But
the voice on the radio names Virginia
where her uncle and aunt live.
So, there’s no lying to spare her. Besides
should I spare her? How do I tell my daughter
that some people made lampshades out of other people?
How do I assure her that even though
there are now Americans who admire
those lampshades and praise those people,
her grandpa from Guyana is safe,
her aunts and uncles won’t be shot
because their skin is brown? Do I leave
the radio on and face the questions
or do I turn it off? How long do I hold her
after the questions are over and is it enough
that she eventually stops shaking?
Michael T. Young’s books include The Infinite Doctrine of Water (Terrapin 2018)
Copyright 2020 Michael T. Young