I am the obligatory veggie platter at the party–
Waiting to be consumed
And only touched when guests don’t know what else to do with their hands.
They’ve discovered a discomfort I’ve determined to be mutual,
And yet I remain…


Artist Statement: The full version of this poem mainly focuses on abuse, rage, and identity. I find that when I perform this piece in full, this segment typically resonates with audiences the most. It touches on objectification and isolation, which I feel many can connect to on a deeper level. I hope that those who interact with my work, particularly those in marginalized communities, feel validated in reading it and recognize that they deserve to take up whatever space they need.

Bio: Maria Diaz-Islas is a junior at UConn majoring in Psychological Sciences and minoring in both Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Human Development and Family Sciences with plans of pursuing a career in mental health counseling. She is on the e-board for UConn’s only spoken-word poetry group, Poetic Release, and is passionate about intersectional activism. She believes that art and activism go hand in hand and is greatly inspired by poets like Saul Williams, Audre Lorde, and Danez Smith.