The Lobbyist

“You disgust me.”
His three piece suit was a little too tan,
His paunch just a little too round.
He was a mercenary sociopath,
Paid to stop moms from Plainfield from speaking their truths.

Moms from Plainfield don’t have the budget
To pay sociopaths
To stop paid Expert Witnesses from speaking their lies,
To stop state senators from voting as they have been instructed by the highest
bidder.

“You disgust me.”
And he pointed his polished brown shoes in a practiced stance,
Forty-five degrees from one another,
And his nose into the air
So I could see the hairs of his nostrils,
Demonstrating that the stench of me should be obvious to all.

“You disgust me.”
And all the fear in the pit of my stomach,
All the self-loathing,
Rise as bile and it is all I can do not to collapse right there.

The mercenary sociopath stood on the shoulders of every schoolyard taunter
Who called names that I hadn’t understood, though the tone was clear.
I knew I was belittled, lesser, disgusting to them.
He stood on the shoulders of every boy in high school
Who touched me with eyes,
Smirks,
Hands,
Crotches,
Long before anyone mentioned that “consent” was a thing.
It didn’t used to be a thing.
Not to nice girls half a century ago who would one day
Grow up to be moms from Plainfield.

“You disgust me.”
It wasn’t personal.
He was paid to terrify me,
He was paid to make sure that one more citizen did not speak her mind.
And if the effect could wash over a few people standing beside me,
Then a mom from Cornish
And a retired trucker from Plymouth
Would also be terrified into silence.
If he did his job well, we wouldn’t even be there the next time
With our signs and our truth.

I wasn’t there the next time.
I stayed home, quivering and shaking,
Crumpled on the floor,
Disgusted with myself
And with my tears
And with the fear that I could smell on my own sweat.

And then the fucking rage came
Like Mama Wolf
Like Volcano
Like all the hatred I had tamped down focused into a white-hot broadsword
And the momentum of raising it up in my heart lifted me to my feet
And for damned sure I made phone calls and sent letters
And invited state senators for coffee in Keene, Plymouth, Lebanon.

If I disgust you, then I am going to earn that disgust,
I am going to speak my truth,
And hold my sign,
And protect my family,
And vote. How dare I?

Do my tears disgust you?
Do they look like weakness?
I am not ashamed of them.
I stand with tears like a badge of honor.
I stand with trembling like a badge of honor.
Because I’m standing up,
You son of a bitch.


LFS Alden is co-owner/builder of a straw bale home in the woods and dearly hopes that her children will make it into space. Her concordance of The Hobbit and supporting digital humanities research tools can be found at WordsThatYouWereSaying.blog. She has completed the National Novel Writing Month Challenge three times and fallen short enough times more than that to keep her humble. Her angry transwife Twitter identity is @LionessAnnam.

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