At moments like these—in the second after the explosion, ears ringing, bodies not yet counted—we are atomized. We feel alone in our trauma and dislocated from community. This specific shock (although all shocks have a lot in common) has shown how the groups we thought we were a part of (women with consciences, people on the left) are not actually there. Reach out to touch your allies and nobody is there. Inaccurate graphs and charts where citizens should have been.
The noncitizens are atomized too. Those of us with fresh documents (I have a strange impulse to laminate mine—or plate them in gold) have worked very hard to become a part of this country: paid in money, time, labor, loneliness. As a conservative leader came to power at home, I chose America. Young people the world over loaned their futures to the state 2008 promised. The undocumented, too.
The noncitizen occupies a weird, beseeching plane of reality. We want so badly to be here. A person cannot get arrested when they have spent their life savings petitioning to become a part of the state that would arrest them. We want so badly to be here. The noncitizen hovers near the explosion, hoping that her category of paperwork doesn’t get abolished by some unwatched bit of shrapnel leaving the area.