19/30

the weeks drag outwards and seem like endless / spirals bound into notebooks. They walk past you without looking / as you spill your body into the nooks of the L train/ shriveling to survive, wasting away in the quiet of office seats or / calm of rhythmic heated deep flash yoga (a class I also took) / expecting to connect with the self through another’s culture / you look like John Smith found another 13 year old bride at Coachella / but you’re white and / insecure about being what she could be / getting angry when he likes the Beyoncé video album / & he’s insecure about your relationship with his black roommate / but “neither of you are racist” and don’t know what that means / how violent it is / you just tell me how you feel safe telling me these things  / subtext: because my skin tone suggests loudly that I should take your side / sit on our half of the bus / exist in constant, unending consent / or at least turn the other cheek when / one of my friends spouts that new Jim Crow logos so comfortable in the northeast / & I, have a palm covered in anger for you, it is sinking in shame / cowardice is bred deep into my nature:/ my mother’s family watching from the pews as their Mormon preacher owns pulpit / owns oppressive system stacked upon system, / owns land and people, / my ancestors played midwife / to a demon named white supremacy / refused choking it, refused to look in the eye, refused to will it gone / and now I stand in the same place & / the demon is sitting across the dinner table from me / fork in hand, telling me a story / about how she won a painting award in high school / and how she once danced on a team with black girls / how her hands wanted to mimic theirs and swing freely / to the music her parents hated / her friends are with us still, giggling / and I seethe / because in this battle I / have failed again and again.

 

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