“So Much Winning”

By James Yeh, originally published in Dissent (2018)

Image by Joe Campbell

I first notice it a few weeks after the election. The swastika has been spray-painted onto preexisting spray paint, fresh lines of red atop faded ones on the curb kitty-corner from my parents’ house. I show my father, but he’s already seen it.

Some people like to fool around, he says, continuing to prune the shrubs.

Do you know how long it’s been there? I ask.

A couple months, he says, still focused on the task. Just leave that junk alone. Not yours.

But people will see, I say.

Not yours. He grips the shears and looks me in the eye. Don’t touch it, he warns.

Online, a friend suggests turning the symbol into the logo of an old computer operating system, with its wake of little black squares. Another friend suggests turning it into a bird. Neither feels right—too jaunty, too whimsical—but I buy the canister anyway. Its rattle like a promise, or a threat.

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