Dawn After Election Day
Dominika Bednarska

The light did not touch me, not like God, like a man, or like my mother when she is afraid. The light touched the TV talking with its blue and red states. I am imagining the light was really touching these states some time later, touching their TVís and their maps with them wondering about it the same way, with the light not touching them. I was still dark like my keyboard when I sat down to write this. Darkness is the presence of all color and the absence of light. I want to ask God about this, how we can be expected to look up and pray and see only darkness, like the photos of space drenched in black satin, a heavy fabric.

I was still dark, because the light did not touch me.

The light broke over the lamp crying. It was trying for light, pointing to its very possibility. I remember the first time I stayed up until dawn. It seemed so accidental and I looked out and saw the light and thought, oh, this is why people bother to live; and I knew I had cheated, because I had not yet bothered to live, had not gotten up early, but had stayed up all night and drank Irish cream and talked and talked.

The lamp was broken and dark and stayed that way.

It makes me think of eggs, of summer, of salt water: the light. Should I be writing any of this down? I am so tired of sitting where the light does not touch me, fumbling with a pen whose ink is dark. It makes me think of not being ready, of needing to go back to bed and the light going on without me, not waiting, not stopping, refusing to reschedule. How do we know we wonít regret everything, with our little states switching color, only two now remaining yellow?

It makes me think I have waited for dawn and the light did not touch me.

I know now that Dawn is a woman and she is fickle and flirtatious and is letting her hair grow too long. And that is something all women can do. The light falls differently every morning, and we sleep through it, or we wait for it, or we ignore it completely. Dawn is a woman with her back half-turned, and she is braiding her hair, making it shorter and we prefer it this way, because we feel less compelled to touch it. I cannot braid my own hair, because it is too dark and she will not help me.

Dawn is a woman and I do the best I can to ignore her completely.


Dominika Bednarskaís writing has or will appear in A Different Art, The James Joyce Quarterly, Wordgathering, The Bellevue Literary Review, Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, The Culture of Efficiency: Technology in Everyday Life, What I Want From You: An Anthology of East Bay Lesbian Poets, Ghosting Atoms, and Cripping Femme, and her poetry manuscript, Smothered Breath, is forthcoming. She teaches at U.C. Berkeley, where she completed her PhD in English and Disability Studies. Her full-length solo show, My Body Love Story, recently kicked off the 2012 National Queer Arts Festival at the Garage Theater in San Francisco. She has also performed at Girl Talk, the Marsh, CounterPULSE, Queer Open Mic, Femme Con, Butch Voices, the Society for Disability Studies Annual Conference, and the Knitting Factory in NYC. For more information, you can visit her blog site ( or Facebook page.

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