Have a Heart
My heart developed abnormalities
absorbing years of antidepressants.
HahahaHA! having absorbed years of
antidepressants, my heart’s abnormal!
I am in the USA privileged
classes. And now no reason remains not
to address class ism and race ism.
Does reason exist? Reasons don’t exist.
Neither in my heart nor yours. Take courage.
Courage: from the Latin cor meaning heart.
Heartache follows. I don’t choose sadness
and outrage, they chose me as whiteness did.
Choose me! I called out again and again
while growing up a poor white Jewish girl
too dumb to notice everyone’s pity.
So poor that poor victims befriended me.
Why didn't you tell me that she was black?
I just thought she was beautiful, my friend,
name begins with an M, we jump rope and
whisper and giggle while boys call Heifers!
And that was that. Discovering systems
that separated and divided in
binary codes has taken my whole life
and double that to dis-empower them:
boy and girl, adult and child, rich and poor,
white and black, white and color, suburb and
city, city and country, teacher and
student, English speaking and not English
educated and uneducated—
where I jumped all class expectations with
the help of sixty thousand plus dollars
accumulated school loans, I paid off
though it took thirty-five years privilege—
white privilege—to be eligible
for loans, lower-priced housing in pretty
neighborhoods, loan extensions, credit, jobs
though it took forty five years to learn how
to say no and took trial and error
to become part of community—I’m
human now with a heart worth living.
Have a heart is a meaningful statement
to those of us who are healing our scars
from race ism and class ism and who
make dismantling both our privilege.
Posted at Poets United Poetry Pantry # 215
Copyright © 2014 S.L.Chast