everything school taught me
abstract nouns, and how to convert them
into adjectives: as if beauty could exist
only when a sixteen year old boy said “beautiful.”
facts: the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,
the sun rises in the east and sets in the west,
there are 206 bones in the human body
but heartbreak hurts worse than a fracture.
trigonometry; which i found no use for
except that meaning can be tangential,
don’t believe everything you read.
how to read maps, but not how to be
culturally sensitive in a foreign country.
history. every action has an equal and opposite
reaction (except kindness, which tends to be
taken for granted). my mother tongue,
but only the numbers up to fifty. organic
chemistry. how to dissect a frog and a flower,
but not an excuse or an apology. algebra,
because taxes and insurance policies are also
quadratic equations. anatomy, except
they forgot to mention that i was allowed
to like the ugliest parts of me. drawing margins,
an introduction to the imaginary lines
separating race, caste, gender, religion,
in an endless violent hopscotch of hate.
and music, as a reminder that even in the dark
there is singing,
there is hope,
there is poetry.