Here, Now



 Here, Now


Paul Crenshaw

Before he was pulled over, Philando Castile worked in the cafeteria of an elementary school. Imagine with me all manner of child: their voices ringing off the tile floors, chewing with their mouths open, small shoes shuffling along in the line where the workers stand behind slanted glass. Imagine small cartons of milk. Plastic trays with square compartments for circular food. Small hands hold the corners of the trays. Some of the kids are scared and nervous this first day of school so a man at the end of the line gives them graham crackers and little goldfish. By all accounts I could find he was a fine man. In a few hours he will be shot in a car and all of us will see what happens next, but for now let us imagine him smiling and hugging the small children, saying “Here now, kids, eat all your food, so you can grow up to be big and strong.



Paul Crenshaw teaches literature and creative writing at Elon University. His work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Nonrequired Reading, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Pushcart, Quarterly West, and elsewhere.

About Okla Elliott

I am currently an assistant professor at Misericordia University in northeast Pennsylvania. I hold a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University, and a legal studies certificate from Purdue University. My work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, The Hill, Huffington Post, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, and Subtropics, as well as being listed as a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015. My books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer’s Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a coauthored novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Bernie Sanders: The Essential Guide (nonfiction).
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