A Love Letter to My Student Loan Bills (A Poem)

I was Navient’s child bride/He was much older than me

Alice C. Minium

--

(Courtesy of Business Insider)

Forty-four-thousand-one-hundred-sixty-eight is
Such a pretty number
52 classrooms, 6 years, 104 exams
So many sleepless nights, for them (I make $19 an hour, not that Sallie ever cared)

I hear that Sallie Mae
Has changed her name
Her reign has come to an end

I’m so sorry, Sallie
I always liked the way
You spelled it

Sallie is now a cold, harsh man
Whose name sounds like
A prescription drug
For diabetes
And I don’t love you, “Navient”
Quite the same way

We had a relationship going, Sallie Mae and I
She liked to send me letters
She was pretty much obsessed with me

They were longform prayers in her hungry voice
Her ache for ALICE MINIUM, all-caps
Her cries for my attention
I left her correspondence
Sealed, stuffed in my drawers
So sweetly
I left them there for years

It was flattering
How they kept coming
How she never let me forget.

All her letters forever falling on my doorstep
With their sealed-shut tight lips,
Eager to tell me something,

Sometimes mysteries
Are best unread
And it is best not to indulge
The cries of obsessive lovers

But Navient
Is more insistent
Cold, cruel, methodical
“This is how it is”

He is a man
He is explaining, predicting, dictating my life to me
Informing me that I will pay him
Till I’m 52 years old

He informs me I will do this
And that this is how my life will go
And deems this needs
No explanation

And that $44,168
Will actually cost me $32,824
In interest
And there will be interest
On that interest
For a minimum
Of twenty-five years

These
Student Loan Exit Terms and Conditions
Have legislated my future

In Navient’s conditional clause

He delivers, draws out for me a law
Of what I’ll never have
And cannot do…

--

--

Alice C. Minium

Richmond-based writer, investigative researcher, and police abolitionist. Contact me at alice@openoversightva.org.