Gathering Clouds

Thunderstorms are rare in Fresno,
so I sit on the floor
to watch our picture window.
Foaming grey backdrop,
the neighbor’s Italian cypress sways,
a white plane flies low, pale contrast
bright against the storm.

Sometimes I cry when I listen
to the televised news.
Friends tell me about mass casualties
at the California boarder, old vans full
of longing, reaching people, about vans burning.

Family from out of town visits for dinner,
my fiancé comes to meet them, says hello,
answers their questions in a Mexican accent.
Still they talk over dessert about how those
border people should stay in their own countries.
The dots never seem to connect.

Sometimes I imagine conversations
with my future children, what I will say
when they hear people comment
on immigration, documentation, nationalism.
How I will walk them to the glass window,
say, “do not be afraid of the storm,
it is ever-changing and lovely.”

But what do I know?
What will I understand when their father
speaks to them in Spanish,
a language he speaks with his heart,
words I am afraid to pronounce wrong?
How can I strengthen them
against rain that has never soaked my skin?

--Trianne H., Adult