I saw you at the Jersey City library, where everything is a little frayed at the edges. I saw you on a computer; I saw you looking for a job.
I saw you were at the library because you didn’t have a computer. I saw how hard it was for you to get there, because you didn’t have a car.
I saw how no one else was seeing how brave you were, how hard you were trying. I saw how you, like all of the sofas and all of the books, were also a little frayed at the edges.
I saw how difficult it was for you to find a new job because certain people of certain colors didn’t trust you as much as you wished they would.
I saw I didn’t trust you as much as I wished I would, as much as I knew I should.
And I wished, wished, wished with all my heart that you would get that job that you were applying for.
I wished that you wouldn’t have to come here anymore, because you would have a computer, and that you would only come here when you wanted to pick up a book or remember how far you’d come.
You lost your old job because your boss’s boss’s boss shut down the factory you worked at and built a new one in Vietnam.
But even as we sat there, bones, flesh and blood in the library, and even as I wished, wished, wished for you with all my heart, I didn’t stop seeing there. I can never stop seeing.
I saw all the way to Vietnam. I saw the baby that didn’t die because its mother now had your job.
I saw the boat, the boat we were all on: you, me and the baby from Vietnam.
Sometimes, when the boat begins to rock, I want scream into the abyss: Don’t you see?! Don’t you see, there’s just one boat?!
A child is no less dead because she died in Syria.
I see all of the people in all of the houses, that they are just mothers and fathers and babies, everywhere. All breathing, laughing, crying, loving and dying.
But I don’t stop seeing there. I can never stop seeing.
I see you down, down, down, all the way down to your DNA, which is the same as mine.
I see all of the cooperation, all of the progress and all of the potential.
I see all of the brutality and all of the blood. I see the history, the entire history of mankind, how it ebbs and flows.
I see it is a delicate balance that has brought us here to this point, and I pray, pray, pray for the delicate balance.
I pray for the delicate balance as I walk home on Central Avenue, but I don’t stop seeing.
I see your feet.
Your feet, with all of the other feet.
Step, step, step.
Step, step, step, through the glowing, yellow window of the salsa studio.
I see you are happy, because I see the little things.