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.