Guest Post: Shattered


I took a picture of
my daughter wielding
a hammer, after
I voted. (Though it was
a week ago, not this
historic night.) I wanted
her to be listening
for the sound of glass,
shattering on pavements, in schools,
in boardrooms, voter booths.
I wanted
her to realize, as we watched
election results, I had cried
and thought of all my sisters’
years gone waiting
for a ballot, much less
the chance to work,
to lead, searching any
change away from hate, from

My mother told me, once, she had
voted for Shirley
Chisholm, in college. She knew
she wouldn’t win, but wanted
the chance to voice
it could be done.
She watched the results
with her mama, who looked up
in surprise at her girl as they
found, in their district, two
votes only for Ms. Shirley–
looked, in tacit understanding,
at each other, knowing
who cast those ballots.

She told me this, and I cried, then
took a picture of my daughter
with a hammer, listening,
(Not old enough to remember
presidents who aren’t
African American, when
women couldn’t votelearngrow
inside or outside the home. No time
she hasn’t already heard tiny fissures creating,
creaking, lake ice in winter.) We sat togetherapart,
waiting with the nation,
waiting for the sound of shatter–
hearing only breaking

–Heather Harris Bergevin

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4 Responses

  1. Libby says:

    Heather, thank you for sharing this with us. I see all the ways my daughters are constrained by glass ceilings and walls–albeit cracking ones–and can’t wait for the future.

  2. Kalliope says:

    So much this. I don’t remember thinking about or caring about elections when I was a child, but my niece, who is six and brilliant, was excited and wanted to vote for Hillary. She’s so disappointed, and that’s amazing to me because she’s paying attention and she cares. How can we protect her, protect all of them, from this world that’s forming before our eyes??

  3. Telling my daughter what happened was so hard. She was so excited. I was even more excited. I had thought that today we would be celebrating, not still waiting.

  4. Wendy says:

    Your daughter will be one who helps heal the country and the world. <3

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