Count Day


00:03
from my babies in Detroit Public Schools
00:10
Valentine’s Day in Detroit schools fell
00:13
on count day this year which means all
00:17
187 of my students got to be present in
00:19
each class to convince the state that we
00:22
need book money teacher money tell new
00:25
pencil money my students can care less
00:28
about account day they care that
00:31
Valentine’s Day is canceled their pink
00:34
carnations and puppy love put aside
00:36
black kids deserve joy unspeakable and
00:39
yet here we are them in a uniform still
00:44
marched in the building single file
00:46
security whines check they body search
00:49
the bags that carried like a bloom of
00:51
daisies the usual on Valentine’s Day in
00:56
Florida a white man shot up a school
00:59
murder 14 students two teachers one
01:02
coach but we know that by now my eyes
01:06
are glued to my phone between taking
01:08
attendance anxiety a colony of fire
01:10
answers I watched the news the irony is
01:14
the lesson that day was on graveyard
01:16
love so we ran Toni Morrison talked 90s
01:20
R&B; declare black love a burial ground
01:23
and already newscasters are lauding us
01:26
as heroes saying one of Honor it is to
01:29
die in the line of duty and that irony
01:32
gives sub-state one black woman to keep
01:34
everybody alive at our own expense I
01:37
want nothing more than to pull my own
01:40
kids from school take them home and
01:42
cuddle into the world forgets what it
01:44
wants of me but I am teaching
01:46
I am always teaching I don’t leave the
01:50
house without a stack of papers I can
01:51
grade just in case
01:53
I talk to my husband like every
01:55
conversation will build a room for our
01:57
students in my home I’m the type of
01:59
exhausted my momma
02:00
used to warn me about when I got mad you
02:02
should get more rest and I know this is
02:04
not what it should means to be married
02:06
to a teacher I’m too to even go on
02:10
a Valentine’s Day that night the next
02:13
day we have an active shooter drill I
02:16
remembered that the teacher in Florida
02:18
was killed following good drill to the
02:20
letter and I’m almost a shrieking tower
02:21
but there are kids watching me the eggs
02:25
why we have to practice how not to get
02:27
killed when we are all ready to trade
02:29
factory stuff with black and brown
02:31
bodies that gas stations and liquor
02:34
stores and blacks more likely to be shot
02:36
up than my school my mama taught me
02:39
early the bullets ain’t got no name I
02:41
learned early to get down and away from
02:44
anything that might shatter I tell them
02:46
follow whatever protocol your mama
02:49
taught you fur fur for July or New
02:52
Year’s the first thing hike not in a
02:53
Detroit summer tell them valentine’s Day
02:57
is officially added to the list I boat
03:00
the door stand guard over the students
03:03
stack like a game of jingle waiting to
03:05
topple in the corner wonder what it
03:07
means that I’m still here too in love
03:10
with the graveyard to leave

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