Multitudes

I make an eggnog on the strong side
and put together a playlist
of unedited fuck-you songs,
the darker the better,
which makes me think about
those who’ve been alarmed
when I’ve cussed or been anything
but cheerful. For some reason,
I’ve always been labeled
a goody-goody, a pure soul, whatever
the hell that means.

A while ago I realized some people
have never had to put on any type of façade
in order to survive, and recently,
that some people refuse to acknowledge me
as fully human, human like them,
because they want to set me aside,
far away from their delicate kernel of self,
because they feel threatened
by who and what I am,
threatened by how we’re the same,
those parts of us that align.
If they acknowledge my complexity,
they must acknowledge my right
to the same basic rights they’ve always had.
They’d have to treat me like they want to be treated
and accept that how they’ve treated me was wrong,
that they were wrong, wrong about me,
but also, wrong about their self-kernel.

Those who hurt me the most
never seem to know how to apologize.
When you say sorry, you must
make yourself as vulnerable
as those you left marks on
and accept that you’re not
entitled to forgiveness.
“Sorry, but…” is not an apology
just as “I accept you, but…” is not acceptance,
and “it’s sad that he died, but…” is not justice,
and “I know people are getting sick, but…” is not freedom.

Maybe this poem(?) is just an unedited fuck-you song.

I think I’ve been in mourning every day this year.
See how I can be both angry and grieving?
Happy and sad, confused and sure, insecure and confident,
all at once? Because I’m human, like you?
When I talk to Mom, I think about the times I won’t be able to.
When I pet the pugs, I think about the one who’s gone.
When I get my port flush, I wonder how many
who sat in this chair are just
someone else’s cherished memory now.
When I’m doing something mundane like laundry,
I think about those mobile morgues (those two words),
try to lay out each coffin side-by-side in my mind.
When I watch the snow fall, I wonder if I will again.
The eggnog may help chronic tachycardia,
but it does nothing for this broken heart.

I turn on the twinkle lights, turn up my playlist.
The way the lights shine on the snow outside
feels like everything, as does this warm cup in my hand.
I smile as a tear runs down my cheek and think,

fuck the holidays.

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