(under)lying

poetry

this class is boring as shit
i am bored
i am bored
i am bored–
i cannot understand this
i cannot do this
and i am sick of trying

i gave up long ago

in elementary school
when i had to read aloud
i stumbled over words
like tree roots in the dark
the other kids laughed
called me dumb
so i stopped reading aloud
i stopped reading
i felt ashamed and i did not want to feel
ashamed

i hated that feeling
that same feeling when
i brought home my first Fs on my report card
and my mom yelled at me
why you so dumb?
why you lazy as shit?

it was easier to give up
than to keep trying
and keep failing
and keep feeling ashamed

i started to pretend like i didn’t care
like i wasn’t trying
it was just so much easier–
but i haven’t, really,
stopped caring
it still stings when i’m handed a book
i know i can’t understand
when my mom comes home
from parent-teacher conferences
and looks at me
like she wishes she had a different son.