Into my cramped office, they enter with a resentful smile. A flash of eyes capped by brows of distrust and underlined by taut skin just below the sockets, that puffs with relaxation that seems forced by involuntary muscles so that the capillaries will flow then deflating with concern, is followed by a new smile that would set better upon the first ten people I could find outside, or a boy forced into the family photo. My dingy space scythes off a layer of apprehension, then wonder what further negligence awaits. Choose feigned overcasualness, fused with familiarity, how are you Paul? I think, first name basis? Their indignation or compliance is saved for the wrap-up. Attorneys employ both in sequential staccato or languid punctuation.
The spectrum is beyond Roy G Biv. Tortured Haitians with French accents that cry upon getting citizenship. Persecuted, gay asylum seekers, now in happy hetero marital union. Those with domestic charges seek empathy. Dinner was cold. You know how women are? I nod agreement always. Of course. I can deliver the bad news by mail. Those who have overstayed visas have remarried, the mother of his children live two blocks away. Doctors from the late Warsaw Pact work maintenance and the former Ethiopian defense minister has commandeered the #15 bus.
Patriotism a flimsy overlay, Maslow’s hierarchy is primary. I don’t think in universals. Are we all citizens of the world? No, time increments. Twelve minutes to the next interview. Faces, which were my primary memory, now are broken into thirty-minute blocks of incongruence or reasonable acceptability’s. Sovereignty? Maybe. Should State lines be the blood of people that are barred or the fluidity that shifts to create new communities. Pablo, more important than who pays? Federalism doesn’t imprint upon those dying of water and airborne diseases, but upon impartial and artificial constructs of heads under powdered wigs, slave owners, millionaires whose leg up is a head for business, but most of all, U.S. citizens’ nonvoters and voters who authorize border walls and national IDSs.
Hi, you greet me warmly at the citizenship ceremony. How are you? I respond cheerily and try to keep my hands full or a pump bottle of antiseptic nearby. I love my fellow humans with many codicils. Make our nation strong, with much needed new ideas and please try to forget my weary stamp or don’t tell your kids who will be as American as I.