When You Don’t Hear Back, Write a Poem.

When you don’t hear back

from the well-respected, beloved teacher

after spending days deliberating

how to write him skillfully,



cultivating courage

to call in, call out, call forward issues important to you:

accessibility, representation, basic visibility,

whiteness decentered,

power reorganized.


How confused you feel

not hearing back




embracing the irony

of the beloved teacher, healer, mystic

of trauma

personal and collective;

trauma almost invariably involving

people not seen, heard, acknowledged;

collectively rooted

in whiteness, centralized patriarchal power, invisibility.


When you don’t hear back

From the well-respected, beloved teacher

And you find yourself triggered

at the invariableness,

engage others in conversation

with kindness and skillful means,

mindful of not blaming


holding paradoxes,


none of us are unproblematic,


by trauma

personally and collectively.


When you still don’t hear back

listen deeply to other teachers,

like my dear friend Nanci Lee

who wrote:

continue offering your truth,

kind and generous,

what they do with it, is their own path.

This is stunning and messy work.

Love your triggers.

Love your truth teller,

she can exist on the sidelines too.

We all desperately want to belong.



when you still don’t hear back

from the well-respected, beloved teacher

write a poem.


By maureen st.clair

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