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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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