I still have a New Hampshire phone number

so the calls have been coming in for months. Even
before he officially declared the candidacy. I never
answer them when I see the Florida area codes. I do
listen to the messages—Ron this, Ron that. The hair
doesn’t crawl on the back of my neck quite as much
as it did when the Former Guy spoke just down the road
from my little house in the woods. I’m in a big blue
city now, maybe I’m safer. And I’m grateful for the text
messages I’ve started to receive. About a “Banned
Bookmobile” filled with the books Ron’s banned
from Florida schools, that will follow him as he makes
campaign stops and hand out books to anyone in
the crowds. I loved it when the Bookmobile came
to my little New Hampshire village. I loved our little
library too but it could hold only so much of the world—
sometimes I wanted more—but we did have Water
for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, and Toni Morrison’s
The Bluest Eye; The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.
All banned thanks to Ron. Our New Hampshire book club
read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, also
banned, and all I can remember is that there was a dog
involved somehow—what made that inappropriate
for schools? And what in the world is the matter with
And Tango Makes Three (by Justin Richardson—oh yeah,
it’s gay penguins.) Beartown? by Fredrik Backman
(the guy who wrote the heart-warming A Man Called
Ove/Otto.) Beloved? Toni Morrison. Nobel Prize winner!

My tri-racial toddler grandson here in Philadelphia loves
Ibram X Kendi’s Antiracist Baby (and double uh oh Woke Baby,
by Mahogany L. Brown) but his other grandmother, in Miami,
better not get caught with them.) Oh, and don’t let his elementary
school-age big sister even think of reading Forever, by Judy Blume.
(Actually probably nothing by Judy Blume.) And they’ve gone
after Beatrice Sparks’ Go Ask Alice (which I admit seemed
a little spicey when I was 17 in 1971 but really wasn’t that
the world we lived in? Live in?) Jerry Kraft’s New Kid? I put
it on the shelf with other Newberry Award books I’m saving
for the grandkids. (I guess the Kid is black but gosh, so are they,
I don’t remember anything especially controversial.) I’ve read
so many on the list, some as a kid, some as a mother reading with
my children, some now as a grandmother: Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s
Slaughterhouse-Five, Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True
Diary of a Part-Time Indian (illustrated by my friend’s
daughter, I can’t wait to show them!) The Handmaid’s Tale!
Margaret Atwood. The list goes on and on. Beyond common
sense. Beyond rational. So bring on the Banned Bookmobile!
New Hampshire needs it. Or just stop by my house. Take a few
Books down from my shelf. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.
When Aidan Became a Brother (by Kyle Lukoff, we have
an autographed copy, my granddaughter met the author
at pre-K library hour.) (Oh no, they are really going to come
for me now. But if I donate to the Banned Bookmobile
will Ron’s campaign people stop calling my no-longer-in-
New Hampshire phone?)

About the Poem

DeSantis made it formal–and he’s campaigning in New Hampshire.

About the Author

Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in Philadelphia and New Hampshire. Poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent chapbook is A Field Guide to Northern Tattoos (Main Street Rag Press.) Recipient of 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant she is a Poet in Residence at Drexel’s Medical School. Her newest collection, NO. HOPE STREET, was recently published by Kelsay Books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *