Amber Atiya, how to survive (for Black grrls)

i’m not always sure how i’ve survived, though certainly i have, sometimes overeating, sometimes under, with a hole in the first molar on the left side of my mouth.

i have survived being homeless, asked by security at an intake center, “do you got any guns” to which i replied, “i wouldn’t know where to get one.” what i’m saying is that i’ve survived by lying, and by slipping past metal detectors with Swedish fish contraband in my boot. i have survived with unscented wipes, one wash cloth, one travel-sized toothpaste and toothbrush in my bag.

i have survived on intake center hash browns, coffee, and milk cut with water.

i have survived a room of sleeping women where the air quality was so bad, i needed an asthma pump for the first time in twenty years. i have survived a nightmare of bad jokes:

why do the homeless cross the road?
what’s the difference between an hra shelter and a black woman’s womb?