Ten Poems for My Early Fall

On my human experience:

My boyfriend filled all the holes in the real oak wooden floor with white caulk when he visited.
I bought him flowers.
And I killed the spiders.
I told him now nice he was to come and visit.
And that he had to deal with the landlord and the wood flooring.

I told my dad about my ovarian cysts,
And how I’m limited in my medical options
Because I get migraines with flashes.
He told me he didn’t know I got migraines.
And that did I know he got migraines?
And then told me for ten minutes how he gets rid of migraines.
And for the first time as an adult, I realized my dad is still just a bit sexist.

Union boy said to me, I’m sorry to be flippant,
But that’s what they all say.
All the professors say your activism work will hurt your research time and make it harder to publish, so harder to get a job.
But he missed the part where I told him, it was my advisor that said that,
My friend,
My mentor.
My advisor who got me into this world in the first place.
Who told me that I have to be careful about activism work.
He missed the part about the thing being about me, and not a cause.

Someone told me to think about the space you take up in a room,
And ask whether you take up too much space.
And I thought, there are two out of eleven white men in this space,
And if I asked them,
They would say they don’t take up too much space,
But it is always them who talk.

I had to go to a new therapist after I moved.
They ask you to pick out three people from the website you’d like to talk to.
This was not made by an anxious person.
Or a person who’s brain works differently.
Because it took me four days and two more tries,
To call back with names,
And by then I couldn’t meet with anyone until October,
And no one on my list was available.

Can I eat a bowl of cheese tortellini like chips?
Is that a thing other people do?
I didn’t put sauce on them or anything.
I just, well, maybe the larger point is here,
That I’ve lost the will to take care of myself.

I sat down, with my free panera sandwich I ordered from their group cart website,
In front of the dean of the students,
To say, you have a chance to do better here.
I’ve had a miscarriage, and you need to guarantee time off for students who have miscarriages.
And I had to leave right afterwards to go to another meeting.

I told the professor man who was voluntelling us to organize a conference
That all this work he’s asking for is taking time away from our research,
And it might be in our contracts,
But we’re not getting paid for it.
He said we should be happy for the opportunity.
And happy for the chance to learn how to run a conference.
Someone else said, maybe we can track the hours we spend working on this conference and take it to them next year as evidence that we need a stipend to do this work.
And I was jealous, she was able to so eloquently express what I was getting at without being hostile like me.

I texted my brother,
Has our sister always been this judgmental?
Yes he said,
It’s why I don’t share on calls.
I didn’t protect him at all, did I? Even if that wasn’t supposed to be my job.

I bought a new red dress from Macy’s.
And boots.
And a long, striped-knit cardigan.
I can’t really afford it,
But it made me happy.
I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
But it happened, and I can add the moral judgement later.


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