In This Place, Poverty Falls

by Michael Lee Johnson


In this place
night falls
with Linda.
Wrinkled life, wrinkled wishes
race across her face.
Torment bristles with each morning.
Nailed to a cross within her house,
Linda lives.
Everything is a cycle,
a charity or gift.
Poverty is an odor,
it is a smell her
nose is lose with.
In the yard, poverty grass,
Near the old car, poverty grass.
Poverty tastes like metal on her tongue.
On this journey with no applause,
no gas, Nicor shut that off.
No money, laziness shut that off.
House full of bills and debris.
With no relief dollars shrink
in her hand harmlessly.
Rest and wait in welfare lines,
manipulate the coins.
Electric heaters keep the old house warm
and the multiple pets alive.
The microwave heats the plastic salad bowl
filled with water for sponge baths.
The left over water mixes with
hydrogen peroxide brushes her teeth.
Her body pale and spirits bail
out with pills.
Groceries are checks
nourished by food stamps.
Walls come closer in at night.
The wind outside roars
with stolen property inside.
Dreary days, step
into depression;
a slice of her mourning
pronounces her dead.
Being held accountable
in God’s attic she smiles.
Induced by the blue sky,
the night falls.


Copyright © 2007 by Michael Lee Johnson

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