ice water

We’re raised in ice water,

our hearts freezing up at a young age—
mom working two minimum wage
jobs,
still they turn off the water,
the heat,
like the child support:
absent,
always being promised
“tomorrow.”
They ask us why we’re
Bitter,
why we’re
Angry,
question our motives for
protests, boycotts,
why we demand the truth,
watch parents gather coins
to pay for inadequate schooling,
watch siblings deal drugs
to help pay for the housing
that keeps us two to a bed,
one on the couch.
They tell us we’re
Lazy
for accepting welfare,
that we need a
Job,
not a check—
as if we’re not working
two legally,
and one illegally,
as if minimum wage
could ever afford
the inflated prices
they keep rising,
competition an ideal
since they own it all.
And they say
go to college,
to become someone,
then hand us a loan
we can never repay,
jobs a rarity,
“EXPERIENCE”
a staple,
as if the struggle of living
hasn’t been experience enough,
as if a degree
means nothing,
and it doesn’t
mean a thing
if you don’t have money.
Because you’re address
is always printed
above your GPA
and no one wants to
pay poverty—
poverty pays too well.
And they ask
why we’re so
Cynical,
why we’re so
Cold,
as if they don’t
keep us growing up
In ice water.

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