I’m not from here
in the way angry, white people say.
But the word home brings to mind a quiet cul-de-sac with neighbors that are either Italian or Polish,
who we see every Sunday at Mass.
It brings to mind my favorite diner, the best bagel place in town, the mall that was the only place to go when you’re 15.
It brings to mind high school, middle school, elementary school, the 13 years I spent standing up the pledge of allegiance.
It brings to mind the white people who said “if Trump wins I’m moving to Canada” but everyone who looked like me will never jump ship. Even if our president wants us to.
I’m not from here,
but like my parents and all those who cut their roots and started over,
I am in love with here.
Not as a beacon of perfection,
but the way you love a person,
someone imperfect, with emotional baggage and a bitter history you didn’t find out until it was too late.
The real patriots aren’t the ones in the red hats, they aren’t the ones in the White House,
They are the ones in the streets. They are the ones with picket signs. They are the ones in an unrequited love affair with America,
they are the ones saying,
“I’m still here. I’m not leaving. It will get better.”