they say that they love us but they only care when we are thriving. they say that they love us, but they do not care we are dying. they say that they love us, but they only celebrate us on stages, ignore us off of them. to be brown & gender non-conforming & queer & femme is to be reduced to a metaphor, a symbol, a meme for the collective empowerment. is to only matter for entertainment value. is to be laughed at & beaten & disappeared. is to not be allowed to talk about it. they say that they love us but they only love us when we are triumphant. but what happens when we no longer can? what happens when we reserve our energy for ourselves? they said that they loved us but then they called us bitchy, selfish, narcissistic. they said they loved us but then they called us ungrateful, predators, freaks. we want them to love us so we forget that when they tried to hug us their hands ended up around our necks instead. we want them to love us so we pretend that we are strong. to be us is to be unreciprocated. is to give & give & give and have them run & run & run and have them take & take & take all of our magic and have them forget & forget & forget your name. they say that they love us but they love their power more than they love us. & so we find our own: we, the unreciprocated. we: the people we have been taught to hate. but are remembering how to love.

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