When The Check Gets Here

When the check gets here
we will open the front door
For the first time in days
we’ll go outside to the sunlight

(that’s been here all along
but which has felt more like the agent
of exposure and threat
of relegation to the street

than the giver of life and joy)
When the check arrives we will dance
the grocery dance and sing the song
of the one small luxury for each of us

bought alongside the staples we will take home
to our empty shelves that have whispered of death
every time we have passed them
for — who can recall the full amount of time?

It has seemed like forever
or maybe a month of those
When the check comes we might heat the house
We might leave a light on all night by mistake

and not curse it in the morning
Maybe we will offer the good cat food
two days in a row
and rejoice in the purring

We will stare at the gas gauge
a little less carefully and turn off 
the calculator nagging inside
for today anyway

When the check comes in
we might swear to never get this low again
When the check comes in 
we might swear to never ever getting this low again

Every check’s a prayer these days — 
not an answer to a prayer but a prayer itself
We fold our hands around it and ask it
to take away pain and give us hope

to free us from the tyranny of barely getting by
and the guilt we feel for buying one small luxury
The side-eye from the people in the stores who see it
in our carts otherwise full of shame

They might be suffering too
whenever they’re waiting for their next check
but we look at them the way they look at us
and somehow forget that all of us

are in this by someone else’s design

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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