Nothing but Trouble

by J.Jill

His dark image remains moving, haunting my mind now for several years. Maybe it’s because of his limp as he struggles to carry his oversized sign at the same early hour of the morning almost daily, out of the suburbs towards a more trafficked road. He drags his right leg with a painstaking, steady rhythm that I haven’t mastered since I fractured my right tibia over twenty years ago.

Over time, his clothes seem more random, haphazard until most recently. Now, even in this heat of oppression, he wears an immense black overcoat. It looks like stiff flannel, much too alien for a frail, ebony frame like his. Maybe it doubles as a blanket or a bed.

His presence makes my heart pound in fear, in sorrow, in a brand of anger, even in our expanse of this new unknown, enclosing us daily now for months. “Never be afraid,” said John Lewis,” to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

People despair daily in conflicts on streets, heard maybe then dismissed, in all degrees of torment, sorrow, need, sacrifice, hurt, even death—rapid or prolonged—and I turn away. But my heart pulses stronger, more unable to unsee what it already understands. ‘It’s not enough,” I scream inside. I find the number of the DC Capitol Congressional switchboard for the office my Representative and press each number with firm intent … area code 202 …