the violence of white women

i recognize the black woman onstage

she speaks of “the violence of white women”

in the workplace &

i didn’t study this in school maybe I don’t understand

i sleep on four chairs at night

let my futon burst open in the trash: a writhing city of blackbugs

let them have it all i cannot live there

i sleep in the homeless shelter in Providence

the school bus (white) says “we can pick you up last

to save face” but i don’t go to school

i weigh 115 pounds at 25 and people say it’s a good thing (privilege)

i talk with my best friend₁ (white) who worries offers me a paid gig

my best friend₂ (white) who urges me to apply advises me

my friend₃ (white) who recommends me at whose workplace I apply

i tell myself will not make them apologize i talk to them about “>” and “<” (privilege)

sometimes they cover my lunch

i interview with the black woman onstage

when she says “black woman” her voice is a honing call

that rings every body but mine:

(∀) “black woman” ≠ “you”

she says nothing to me not even wrong

i pull a blanket over over me in my four-chair bed

i dream forwards and backwards

i was spanked by my mother

my neck looks like i have hung myself i lie back and think of dying

on underpaid nights

my friend₂ (white) hires me and so

i am alive! i am still alive

i thank her make her, coworker, apologize

tell her all about “the violence of white women”