Animum Advertere

1. The woman, of European immigrant heritage, is a product.

1.1. The woman, of European immigrant heritage, is well-manufactured by the system in which she was raised.

1.2. The woman, of European immigrant heritage, is raised to trust the government cares for its citizens, for her, and for the good of the world.

1.2.1. The government, through this teaching, declares itself to be exceptional, and thus, the woman trusts her country must be exceptional.

1.3. The woman, of European immigrant heritage, is raised to be loyal. 

1.4. The woman, of European immigrant heritage, is raised to trust uniformed authority.

 

 

2. The woman does not question the narrative.

2.1. The woman does not question the narrative presented by the media.

2.1.1. The media is well-aware of the power their outlets wield.

2.2. The woman does not question the narrative presented by the government.

    2.2.1. The government is well-aware of the power maintained by the cultivation of said narrative.

2.3. The woman, according to the government, and according to the media, is a vessel to be filled.

2.3.1. The government, and the media, finds the banking method of education to be most worthwhile.

2.4. The woman does not yet know the active-present of history. 

2.5. The woman does not yet know the problem with slogans.

 

3. The woman obtains a degree in the humanities from a liberal arts college located on an island that has been colonized and oppressed by the nation she was raised to celebrate.

3.1. The woman learns about terms such as “illegal overthrow,” “colonialism,” and “oppression” for the first time.

 

4. Like her mother and father, and their parents before them, et sic porro, she becomes transient.

4.1. She leaves the island from which she received an education that discomforted her foundations and begins the process of processing. 

 

5. She becomes, as she believes at the time, an “expatriate.”

5.1. She leaves the island and does not return to her home-state for an extended period.

5.2. She leaves the island and moves to a region her country has taught her much about.

5.2.1. It must be noted: she is afraid of the people in the region to which she moves.

5.2.1.1. She cries when her husband travels ahead of her. 

5.2.2. She scans the news and watches the clips.

5.2.3. She reads the Travel Advisories put forth by the State Department.

5.2.3.1. She reads them more than once.

5.3. She does not yet understand the application of agenda or interests.

 

6. She is a teacher of English and the humanities.

6.1. She expects to teach English and the humanities.       

6.1.1. She is especially fond of poetry.          

 

7. With each semester, she comes to realize that her teaching is of lesser importance, that this move is not about her efforts to relay knowledge from curriculum that mirrors her upbringing, but rather, about learning.

7.1. She learns from adults, and she learns from children.

7.1.1. They show her more patience than she deserves. 

7.1.1.1. She does not appreciate the full gift of this until later. 

7.2. She learns of soft power and public diplomacy.

7.3. She learns of hard power.

7.4. She learns of arms deals.

7.5. She learns of memorandums and other such tacit agreements. 

7.6. She learns of her own tax dollars.

7.7. She learns of her funding of war crimes. 

 

8. She funds war crimes. 

8.1. She funds war crimes against civilians.

8.1.1. She funds war crimes against civilians she eats dinner with and calls friends.

8.1.2. She funds war crimes against children.

8.2. She does so because she is an American.  

 

9. She has nightmares she has never had before.

9.1. When she wakes up, they do not dissipate.

 

10. I am an American woman of European immigrant heritage. 

10.1. My nightmares are no longer American-made. 

10.1.1. Neither are they sanctioned by the nation who provides me my passport.

10.2. As an American woman, I have funded crimes against friends and children and civilians.

10.2.1. I have funded crimes against civilians I do not know by name. 

10.2.1.1. This does not lessen my culpability.

 

11. I am an American woman.

11.1. Because I hold an American passport, I am responsible for the crimes committed by my country.

11.1.1. These crimes may be committed via direct action, by proxy, or through letters of intent.

11.2. I share in all the wrongs. 

11.3. My nightmares, the evidence: they follow me. 


 

 

Tara Ballard Greyscale Torso

Tara Ballard is the author of House of the Night Watch (New Rivers Press), winner of the 2016 Many Voices Project Prize, and the recipient of a 2019 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. Her work has been published in Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere.