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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mariam Coker

Daily Cardinal

A Love Letter to Helga Pataki

You shine so bright, they force you into a shadow, growing into a sunflower without the sun to turn to, girl, you got the magic You are surrounded by skeptics who weren’t present witness to your blossom, they doubt it’s occurrence, they doubt you. I feel your anger, the nonchalant way of going about expecting nothing from the people that interact with the day. No one will let you down without your permission. I get why you write, why you obsess, why you get mad, that you love so hard and so much, it drags you down like a responsibility. So you stopped carrying your heart in your hands. I know most times you leave it at home, perhaps in your closet, so no one will know you have one, too. You hide your soft so no one try to shape you into something you are not. You don’t want anyone to accidentally step on it and then feel bad for not accepting their “sorry.” To you that word is flimsy, can’t even take being thrown in a trashcan. Helga, I know how bad waking up can be, when no one is there to say good morning, or there when you get back home, or there when your world is screaming novels at you. And I get that sometimes loneliness is not a choice, it’s the only option when no one chooses you back. Please write until everything you have to say is able to be read and I’ll read it. Helga you are so beautiful, and loving yourself is only half the battle, sometimes it’s the full war. Thank you for the Saturday mornings, for those 20 minutes it wasn’t so bad to be alone.

Daily Cardinal

Day 74

Do not worry about the girl who left and walked forever, she is taking space for herself. The world is round, she’ll be back.

Daily Cardinal

Every Friday @ 9

The cleaning lady works like clockwork, fume mask, no gloves. She cleans the silent, already spotless, dentist office without music, Islam ti duro, Islam has come to stay , she would sing to herself. She does not look like her boss. Her boss does not look at her, just leaves her a check next to family photos and tells her not to turn on all of the lights. Look at her hands. See how the Pinesol, the Windex, the Clorox, the cleaning of white people’s shit has aged them. The cleaning lady’s hands are sandpaper, steel wool, diamonds; can remove paint from wall, air from sky, blood from anything. Her husband does not hold her hand. I used to go with the cleaning lady to diffuse the silence; my naive, wide eyes squinted with cleaning fumes, small hands cleaned corners thoroughly. Mommy’s helper, they called me, and watched me grow from cleaning mirrors to vacuuming the hallway. I once asked her why we don’t go to this dentist office, she said we couldn’t afford it. The cleaning lady has been cleaning the same dentist office for over 20 years, waxed belly and waxed floors, it is already in me: back problems and no eye contact.     I am half rag and half obedience. I would make a good wife. Hands rough and calloused from the right way of scrubbing a bathtub, or scrubbing grout from tile, or hand washing blood from anything, no one wants to hold my hand.

Mariam Coker works for the dignity of those in need of social work assistance. 

Mariam defies white-saviorism

Welcome to “Black Girl Magic.” This week’s Magician of The Week is First Wave scholar, ASM councilwomyn and Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair, Mariam Coker.

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