Lyrical Essay



You walk out into the light, watching the students get picked up by their drivers. The socks from your catholic school uniform itch at your ankles, but you don’t mind. You feel pride in your school, pride in your family, pride in your farms. Pride in your heritage. Your chauffeur opens the door for you.

You watch the rest of the city go by out your window. After the earthquake, many people couldn’t rebuild, forcing them to live in poverty. You are all the more grateful for your farm.

You vacation in San Francisco, taken aback by the hills as you drive over them, staring in awe at the Golden Gate Bridge guarding the city by the bay. It’s striking. You can’t wait to come back.

The Indian is brave, intelligent, and full of good values. This is your heritage. Your father and mother, full of good values. The maids make your bed, but mother teaches you how to care for yourself, to clean a toilet and wash your clothes. Your father has farmed cotton all his life, a steady force in your life. Your friends are going to the United States for school, but mother would miss you too much. You stay home, watching the students go.

You move to a new home after marrying your husband, and enroll your children in school. A little boy and girl running around the house, wide eyed and innocent. Catholic school, just like you; life is a cycle. But then the guerillas came. The year is 1979. The dictatorship that was in power before wasn’t perfect, but your life was stable. The right was corrupt, but they didn’t come for your farm, your family. 23 bullets in the side of your house.

You hear the yelling outside, you hear the yelling inside. Who is yelling? You yell to your children to hide under the beds, hide under anything. Your husband bends down just in time for a bullet to find its mark in the air conditioner he was leaning against.

23 bullets in the side of your house, you pack your bags and run. The right was corrupt, but they weren’t murderers. Your brother joins the fight against communism as a pilot.

San Francisco
You couldn’t wait to return, but not like this. The hills look menacing and your heart races at loud sounds. But you know you’re safe in this country. You live with family friends and work hard to make enough money to move to your own home, in Burlingame. Here your kids go to school. Here you go to a rally for Ronald Reagan, and here you can support capitalism without being attacked. You never rely on welfare, and work your way up to become middle class once more.

The Chinese man you work for is honest, and modest about his wealth. The Chinese immigrants are communists, but not him. He works hard for his family, and you work hard for him and the company.

Your brother’s plane has been shot down.

Pain, helplessness.

But also, pride.

He died fighting for what he believed in. He died because he wanted to get communism out of his country.

How could the left prevail? All they want is to take. Why should you work to support them? Immigrants should come, but legally. You didn’t work your way up so strangers didn’t have to.

You hear from friends who also made it to the states. Thank god mother taught you how to clean a toilet. You don’t have maids, or a chauffeur. But you don’t mind. You have pride in your family, pride in yourself. Pride in America.

But even here, the left doesn’t want to be civil. You see them burn cars, you see chaos in the street. This isn’t supposed to happen here. You made it out. You respect the left, but they don’t respect you. There is hatred, and it is violent. Now, you don’t think the government in Nicaragua was really a dictatorship–you wish it had been. Maybe then there would be control, order. A new man is running in the U.S, and you see hope in his promises.

You voted for Donald Trump, and you will do so again. Control, order.