Solitude & Solidarity

Solitude & Solidarity – Thursday, 9 a.m.

These halls would swallow me if they could,
but I sit by myself outside the governor’s office
in solitude and solidarity.

These walls do talk—echoes upon echoes;
each word bounces up hallways and down stairwells.
Each word!
How many times? How long?
Are the deals that were struck
to strike yet again at my time with my daughter—
are those deals still echoing in some dark corner?

Damn them. But I am here.
First this morning to set the vigil,
my “Susanna-sign” bright beside me,
bearing witness to a sixteen year-old girl
worth the world to me.
Humiliated umpteen times over a decade,
but never once ashamed of my love for her.

I know, life is complicated; each situation is unique.
To be sure. To be sure.
But the Governor’s paused pen,
the legislative maneuverings, the false alarms and fear-mongering—
these “complications” aren’t about kids.
No, dollars and the backroom deals
bury the best interests of our children
one more session.

But, as I say, I am here. Alone, but soon to be joined by others.
And I—we—stand here for countless more.

So already now, undaunted, in solitude and solidarity,
I meet the eye of everyone who passes—
holding my Susanna-sign, I hold their gaze, not pleading,
but with calm urgent conviction I beckon
beyond all the complications—
see me, see her, see this simple truth:
“Every child … deserves … every parent …
in their life … as much as possible.”

Someday. Someday soon.

David R. Weiss

This poem remembers my participation in a vigil in front of Governor Dayton’s office. We hoped he would sign a “Shared Parenting” bill that would make a small first step toward more justice dads and kids in divorce cases. He chose instead to let it die on his desk. We were a small group keeping vigil. I was a latecomer on Wednesday, but first to arrive on Thursday. I am new to this activism. Paralyzed for years by my anguish, I have only recently begun to claim my voice, and only in the past weeks begun to make friends. These are not my last words; I’m just getting warmed up.

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