The Real Expense

Poem by Stella Georgian
Art by Amelia Foy

My mother wasn’t like the rest.
She stuck out,
Not like a sore thumb;
But like a scarred arm.
They cover the hatred with lies and excuses
Passive aggression coupled with disdain
Dehumanizing me in the same breath-
As they asked my day went.

My middle school didn’t like me,
The principal,
My teachers…
They saw me as different,

Different not like individual
Different not like writer
Different not like passionate voice
But different like my mother
When she is no different than the PTA mothers walking with pride

My mother would hide her EBT card,
My mother would have me take the bus so they wouldn’t see her car
My mother isn’t the only one in this town to have overdosed on heroin
But they do not see that

They don’t know the whole story
They see what they want to
Reject me, no matter how good my grades are
No matter if I prove myself;
No matter if she has 10 years clean
They think I’m just my mother-

But I could never be as strong as her.