MANTRA BY KATHY LUO ’19

 

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They say,

work more, push more

you know you can always

do more

 

I say,

I know, I know, I know

 

I think if I heard those orders just

one more time,

my skin would turn to plastic

my eyes would glaze to glass

and I’d turn into a clock

 

run on cogs and ticks,

never miss a meeting again

no sleep, no dreams

just a charged battery,

and I’d run smooth and proud

like a perfect machine

 

but I woke up this morning,

still a human being.

 

She says,

watch out for yourself take care of yourself

you need to stop loving everything but yourself

 

words from a mother’s mouth

because she was tired of sending off a daughter in the fall

and getting back a ghost by Christmas Eve

 

I say,

I know, I know, I know

 

I tell her, I was turning the other cheek

She says  they already slapped that one.

I rub my face

and wonder if she’s right

 

do what I’m saying and

follow this road

don’t question these things I’m just

helping you grow

 

Okay, I say,

I know, I know, I know

 

If only they knew

how little I know,

that the string I reply with

is just a plagiarized promise

it’s something I heard first

long ago

 

I say,

God, you wouldn’t believe

what happened today…

 

A voice:

I know, I know, I know.

 

Kathy Luo is a junior concentrating in English and Sociology.

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