“Minimum Wage”

package of bologna, loaf of bread
and this week, cheese, too
they turned the gas off
already
not much point
in saving those last few dollars
payment plan, my ass
I miss one week…
boil some water for the bath
be grateful for living in a warm climate
cheap shampoo
makes my scalp dry
I’ll have to wash more frequently
not really cheaper at all.
Shirt looks clean, sniff,
should’ve used that money on laundry
different shirt, with the nice jeans
don’t want to look like them
don’t have to look like them
welfare renewal, hate this
can’t just do it by mail
we must parade the poor
into sterile buildings with jaded clerks
to prove that need exists.
But I won’t be like them-
with four kids running around
snotty faces, dirty hands,
touching things
as parents bum cigarettes in the parking lot
stains and odor, apparently ignored-
Poverty is neither condition nor excuse
quality of life is relative
to state of mind
In my observation,
wealth brings new comfort
and new quandary
I do not envy the rich
but take pride in knowing
my lot is my own, and
wallowing is unnecessary

© M. Black, 2016 All rights reserved.

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