“Getting a Driver’s License, or Consciousness and the State”

I was another person. I am another person.
The spring rain falls on the cement sidewalk,
the red brick, the green grass. That was where
I was young—where I——The mist streamed
up from the hot cement walk, then the sun
cut away the gauze and the spring was gone.
The person who stood there and the person
who remembers. This time the rain as I walk
out of the DMV, from questions put by the state,
never trivial: Am I married? Am I male or
female? No way to drive away. The sun breaks
through the car window, on the radio a viola,
civilized violence cuts to my gut, frequency
of old anger there, to take that in my hand,
seesaw, bend and bow to my will, sharper,
eager to cut through to what the words wrap,
the power that inscribes on every form
black-and-white categories and demands
an answer: Male or female? U.S. citizen?

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

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