We chew slowly and carefully,
the meal in front of us rests on a paper plate
—a sloppy joe, corns and peas,
slices of pear,
a single piece of cornbread.
The radio plays a familiar tune,
something from Israel.
Beautiful and nostalgic,
the music haunts the classroom,
like an unwanted tattoo.
My co-worker Ruth speaks up,
tells me, “You know
I went to the Women’s March,
up in DC. Even wore a pink hat.”
She smiles for a brief moment.
Her eyes shine bright blue,
as the children start to yawn,
before they drag their feet
across the carpet,
clearing their plates from the table.
The walkie shakes
like a bobble-head: Attention educators,
please be cognizant of suspicious-looking people
and suspicious looking activity
I pull out my phone
and check the news on the Internet.
Bomb Threats loom over
Jewish Community Centers across America,
like a toxic-gaseous sky
spread over every place we call home,
every place we wish to keep safe.
Ruth, the lead teacher,
takes out her mini-white guitar
from behind the storage cabinet.
She strums the strings gently
as though she is stroking
of a lion cub.
Andrew T is a writer from Annandale. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and received honorable mention for Creative Nonfiction at the VCU Writing Awards. He used to teach at a local Jewish Community Center and currently performs stand-up comedy at dive bars. Follow him on Twitter @AndyT187.
Illustration by Paul Hostetler