Border Walls

written by AMANDA GROSS

Sit.

Breathe.

Notice the life force streaming in through your nostrils. Watch it go out the same way it came in.

Do you notice your insides?

Can you feel your inner Mother Theresa? The selfless care? The love-practice lived?

How about your inner 45?

 

I was feeling rage and grief at my family’s willing ignorance and at the names and Black bodies that kept piling up on my twitter feed. Something mammal and hungry had devoured the mustard greens in my garden that I had grown from seed. Also, the carrot tops were missing.

(I guess my faith was small.)

 

I scraped the soft flesh of my forearm on a rebellious sheet of chicken wire. Wooden stakes. Staple gun. Wire cutters. Rocks and dirt filled in the gaps.

Satisfied, I stood back: At least the collards, tomatoes, basil, swiss chard, and cucumbers would stand a chance.

 

I stood back

And noticed that

I had built a border wall.

photo collage by Amanda K Gross

Yesterday, I walked in the sunshine to the farmer’s market and purchased the juiciest of strawberries. One fell out on its way to my fridge.

I tasted how it surpassed my expectations.

 

My dear friend asked for some.

Sure, I texted back, and also, I wish I had known or I would have bought more. I would leave half for her and her household on the top shelf of my fridge.

What I meant was, I wish I had planned to take more for myself. I remembered the taste of that one juicy berry. I anticipated my morning meal.

 

I remembered, too, the feeling of experiencing another’s pleasure—how deliciousness can be magnified by a chorus of “mmmmm’s.” I remembered how much I actually do like to share.

I boxed the berries up for her and stood at the sink to breathe.

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