sliver of glass

What they don’t tell you is that a sliver of glass, quietly, stilly sitting on the dirty corner of Mission and 17th , patiently waiting for you to fall on it, can cut your hand. It can draw blood, dripping in perfect circles, to the subway station. You’re not warned that somehow this will feel like your own doing.

What they don’t tell you is what the sterile exam room is like when someone tells you you might die or you might live. It’s mauve and seafoam green, it seems outdated but smells like fresh paint. The art on the walls – if you can call it that – is a rendition of a field or maybe flowers. You sit, pondering that you’re a statistic and that the art is ugly. And you want to argue back, play the devil’s advocate, be the factually correct one in the room, will yourself that this is not the end of the run, float above your body because only then might the dull low hum banging against your ear drums silence itself. Isn’t it the case that everyone might die or everyone might live?

What they don’t tell you is how many of your friends will die, die young, die younger, die youngest. And those deaths come slow and they come fast. At first you’ll be grief stricken, unable to get out of bed, sobbing into the ether. They don’t tell you that so many people in your life will look away, too pained or afraid or cowardice or culturally neutered to name the grief, the loss, the life well lived. What they don’t tell you is that so many of those women are Black and brown, that they have to fight for the same pain medication you easily get from your oncologist. That their experience in the same four walls could not be more different, on another planet. And then, what they don’t tell you that at some point, the spigot of feelings turns off. A wake of numbness replaces it. You’re not prepared to examine what this means.

What they don’t tell you is the land that you’re on is stolen. Here from the Ohlone and there from the Cahokia, a people assumed to be so extinct that the teachers in my gradeschool only talk about them as if they exist only in the past. Not present or future. There is no recognition or reference or regaling of anything but colonists, settlers, stealers, white, conquesters, storytellers, those who own the version of history that is written, rinsed, and repeated.

What they don’t tell you is that budging against the status quo creates a target on your back. A bullseye. Pushing on the system, pointing out the injustices. A collective unlearning to relearn the facts – not the history. The red circle gets bigger and bigger each day. It draws more blood than a sliver of glass.

What they don’t tell you is that they lied.

What they don’t tell you is that what was hidden from you was there all along.

Shard Of Glass - Free photo on Pixabay
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