When something seems so dire
many people say—
“What can I do?
If only I change, it won’t make a difference.”
This is what they all say.
I look at the Brooklyn rooftops. Some grow plants and vegetables.
When I tried to find a cab in the middle of an Occupy Wall Street protest.
I cried ridiculous tears.
I was so caught up in my asthma attack
and wanting to get home
so I could continue living for another day
I didn’t think magnanimously.
I was small in my emergency.
I didn’t even blush.
But at least I know it.
I wish I could go back in time and remember my inhaler
so I could keep my footprint small
so I could protest.
I am fallible.
But I can be big in an emergency.
Amy Lawless is the author of the poetry collection Noctis Licentia (Black Maze Books, 2008) and the chapbook Elephants in Mourning ([sic] Detroit, forthcoming). She was named a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. She teaches writing in New York City and New Jersey.