My Professors Don’t Understand My Sadness
They think the bed is only made for sleep
and not for the comfort of lying in
after I remember a threat to close.
My social services case a threat to withhold the opportunity
of someone perched next to me locating my every move
with gentle eyes and a soft, warm heart that reverberates.
They think since I can read a New York Times article
about Philip Roth’s legacy, then I can surely write one
like a peer with a Master’s degree
in archiving images like the ones you would find
while sipping a latte at an outdoor table in Columbus Circle,
observing two middle-aged women argue over a tiny white purse
or decide whether to demolish an Italian dinner that would
transport them back to Modena, where the best
balsamic vinegar is refined by white aunties
in kitchens overlooking vast farm fields
who’ve trudged there for generations.
They think they’re just an email away—
let’s have a conversation about how our conversation
can help me complete, and submit the missing assignments
so they can plunge into their summer vacations of travel to Niagara Falls
and the Golden Gate Bridge instead of it lagging
behind like my brain cells whine and tire after
(just) twenty minutes of any activity
in which a grade a judgment, a comment is attached
to a paper trail detailing school issues—
deadlines missed, cameras turned off,
not participating, when really, it’s unsafe to rightfully rage or
simply state the word “anti-Black” when anyone
unmistakably Black and femme whose face is pockmarked with
uneven shades of devalued dark and light brown scattered
like a celestial map of each time since 2003.
I’ve picked an acne scab out of sheer nervousness and fear,
cheekbones that aren’t high but sit below the jaw,
and a chin that oozes jello and negative perception
whenever one staggers; has the devil’s time just waking
situated on a bed in order to endure each excruciating day.