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The Heat


by Jenai Bealpermel

 

This heat is stifling, but I guess that's to be expected
“Black people can’t handle cold. They need electric blankets”
But it’s not just that,
Of course not, no
A few heaters and a blanket to keep out Los Angeles “snow”

A little drizzle and the wind is what could freeze me to death
Cause of my complexion I guess my tolerance is bereft
Why can’t I prefer the snow and the rain?
“Well you’ve never been in snow, never felt its cold pain”
“Oh and you’re black as well so you must prefer the heat”
Of course! It's cause of my skin I like the inability to breathe

Cause I Can’t Breathe when you turn up the heat
It invades my lungs even as I sleep
When I wake with a gasp
Knocking the arms from my throat
And I rush for cold water
Just to keep me afloat
I realize then what my melanin has cost me
“Friends” suffocating me just so I can feel “comfy”

I ask politely for the arms to abate
But my friends just laugh and keep the heat near 98
It’s crazy how bad a stereotype can hurt
Now I can’t even get my brain to work
Cause of this… this smothering heat
That strangles me till I lose oxygen, from my head to my feet

My dry lips crack with an almost audible sound
And I feel like it’s time I might finally drown
Thanks guys, though I’m sure you meant well
You can take heat and go straight to hell
Cause even though black people “can’t handle the cold”
I Can’t Breathe in the heat, as if you would know
You’re too stuck on stereotypes to even see my pain
“He’s too big he must be a criminal” “She’s too dark she can’t like rain”

Perceptions and Misconceptions who knew they could kill
I guess it’s just me, well not anymore, and another 41.7mil

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