“Kamala Harris: U.S. Senator” by Alejandro Escudé

Alejandro Escudé


My divorce mitigator
had an office across the street
from a Bed Bath & Beyond;
it was a huge store, and I thought of going there
the way one thinks of going
somewhere one happens to pass by
and never does because I needed to park
underneath a twenty story building
to meet my ex wife and this other woman
who we hired to file the divorce paperwork
and to suggest how we might split
amicably—and I remember, quite distinctly,
the way one remembers something
that was part curiosity and part pain,
my ex-wife pointing out the sign on the office
next door to the mitigator: Kamala Harris,
US Senator. It was such a plain
looking door, brown, as the floor was brown,
brown my feeling as my ex-wife noticed this.
I remember thinking how interesting
it was that she pointed it out, both of us
starstruck by a stupid brown door
with a name on it, the name of the woman
who had just faced down Joe Biden,
a woman who rented an office
on the seventh floor of this nondescript building
on Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles
where I was meeting with a mitigator
and the woman I was married to
for seventeen years, who I had
two kids with, and who was now divorcing me
while simultaneously pointing out
the name on a door: Kamala Harris,
and the electric blue Tarantino sky
behind it all, and the bathroom
that was across the same hallway
for which you needed to ask for the key
and how I asked once and went in
and felt a tightness in my chest,
I thought I was having a heart attack
though I wasn’t, it was more an existential thing,
as in where am I and what is happening?
I needed to take a break from negotiating
the way politicians negotiate,
the way they bicker on bright stages
that are just stages and nothing more.

from Poets Respond
August 18, 2020


Alejandro Escudé: “Life is surreal. There are these moments of divine yet absolutely useless premonition. Harris showed up in the tapestry of my life the way the poem describes. I’m cynical, so I think it means nothing. Will she become Vice President? I don’t know. But I do know that this incident occurred, and I remembered it when Biden chose Harris as his running mate.” (web)

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