The Revolution

for Kathleen

On a day in this post-9/11 nation,
where our cars are protected
by sensors and cameras
and black glass that keeps us safe

from the sun and each other,
my daughter-in-law drove me
and her kids down the main street
of Felton, California, in an SUV
that wore brand new, long

eyelashes over its headlights.
The tinted glass of parked vans
refused our reflection. A pickup
with window guards, and cars

with squinting, watchful headlights
passed by before we turned
into the parking lot of the school.
But on this day of the eyelashes,
which transformed her SUV

into a human face, the face
of a woman, mothers we didn’t
recognize honked their horns,
putting up their thumbs,

and when the black glass
of the SUV’s and the mini-vans
opened, other moms came out
with their kids to gather around us
in intimacy and wonder. “I love

the lashes,” one woman said,
clutching her heart and laughing.
“Where can we get a pair?”
somebody else wanted to know,

the start of a small revolution
to free us from the protections
of Homeland America.

Follow McNair’s thinking about this poem through his revisions of it. (Line changes are highlighted in yellow; revised line breaks are indicated by yellow verticals.)

Explore an earlier version of this poem through two questions about craft.

Hear Wes McNair read this poem.