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"Ya'll, I'm broke."
A phrase I say with a smirk on my mouth so small I share the same confusion as the person asking me about my funds!
Spilling out of my mouth with my southern dialect.
Accosting me this feeling of guilt for leaving the nest and coming back empty-handed.
Southern, Black, woman made to carry the cares of others in my mouth as I fly out to sea—another world.
But, this bird can't feed ya'll.
I mean you all.
I mean I break down contractions in my sentences, hearing bones cracking in the background.
They call it growing pains.
Limiting the experience of pain when ripping skin from muscle is made normal.
Ripping something that is part of my identity.
Mocking me by calling it a hobby.
Asking me when I am going to find a job to support myself as I get out of bed, carrying the baggage you all added.
My brown skin painted with black smears below my brown eyes.
I am noticed only when my voice has raised to frequencies your pay scale cant silence.
Frequencies that drown out the negative self-talk.
Asking me when I am going to write my book.
Still giving tips and tricks on a notepad of passive aggression.
Sticking to every thought in my mind of what I have yet to accomplish as a writer.
My insecurities weigh into every financial discussion.
Still, ya'll approve loans that will stunt my growth.
Your testimonies only work for mocking.
Ya'll coat words with apologies and the ability to mean well—the southern comfort food I digest daily.
The only meal these broke bodies can digest.
My pockets may be empty, but my soul has food for the weak.
Poverty in spirit.
I can see ya'll wasting away.