Fred Everett Maus

Epistemology (November 9, 2016)

When I posted on Facebook
the day after the election
saying that my young Muslim friend was terrified,
that he had asked me why everyone hates
Muslims, and my big sister rebuked me—“Such
negativity! Do something for the good 
of the cause”—

so I asked her how her own Muslim friends
were dealing with it, and she replied
as I expected “I don’t have any Muslim friends”—
all of this written on my timeline
seen by my friends—
and then she continued “We don’t have 
that problem so much here in Texas,
but we have the issues with 
blacks and Hispanics”—I didn’t 
expect that part,
the open identification of 
Muslims blacks and Hispanics
as issues, as problems—

it was when I wrote again to end the exchange 
that I (and probably not she) found
embarrassing—“I am not
going to pursue this on Facebook”—

at that moment I realized that my terror 
of Trump was entangled with terror 
of the big brother who long ago 
sexually abused me, realized it by feeling 
the same desire to protect my sister—
the sister whom I would not
call racist on Facebook, because it would
confuse and hurt her,
the sister whom I never told
about my brother’s abuse because
I knew she needed his friendship—

in that moment I saw
more clearly than ever that my
post-traumatic subjectivity 
which sometimes distorts
can fix a fierce beam on the truth.