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A dog named lavender

Vivek Shraya
are you staring at me because
are you not looking at me because
you don’t like me because
you don’t desire me because
i don’t like myself because
i wish i was like you
am i safe here
where are the others like me
there are no others like me
i was not considered because
i was only considered because
why would you say that
i thought you cared me
did you say that because
do i respond
how do i respond in a way you will hear me
how do i respond without making you angry
or uncomfortable
can i be okay with not responding
why doesn’t someone else respond
i shouldn’t have said anything
are you ignoring me because i responded
there has to be another explanation
maybe i am making this up
maybe i am too sensitive
maybe i am too defensive
maybe i am undesirable
not everything is because
i can’t assume the worst
of course i am safe here
of course there are others like me here
you probably haven’t seen someone like me
i just need to work harder
you don’t know how to think about this
you didn’t mean what you said
of course you care about me
of course you will hear me
maybe it’s good for you to be uncomfortable
maybe i’m better off in the long run
what would i think of if i wasn’t thinking about this
a dog named lavender
a home in idaho
a book about landscapes
what would i make if i wasn’t thinking about this
who could i be if i wasn’t thinking about this?
Why I chose this poem: 

(The poem can be read top-bottom or side to side) (See "Poem Source" link)

It speaks to the mental clutter that people of color (or anyone with a visible marginalized identity) carry around, which is political because it's a drain on resources: time, energy, and emotional well-being. The poem is a good visual and auditory representation of the constant loop of microaggressions followed by invalidation that ultimately makes racism "our" problem to solve and distracts from all other endeavors: "what would i think of if i wasn't thinking about this / ...who could i be if i wasn't thinking about this?"

Vivek Shraya