charles portolano | long lines

Long Lines

By day, I sell my blood
to make ends meet
to keep from being
thrown out onto the street
with my two kids,
Johnny, seven, and Sue, two.
Long lines, today.
Nights, I work the late shift
at the Greek Diner,
close to home and
people pretty much
leave me alone.
Lucky to have the job,
a lot less people eating out,
Now my Mom
plays Grandmother,
“Keeps me young,”
she claims.
Couldn’t survive without
her helping hand,
living in her house,
the house I grew up in.
I remember the day
I got married to Barry,
boy, what a jerk,
thought he would change.
When he lost his last
“good” job at the plant,
he gave up all hope,
acted like a child, again.
Now, gone, long gone,
no child support.
It’s tough, but better
without him around,
better for the kids.
My last good job was
as head billing clerk
at the corner music store.
One day, I went to work
and was told to go home,
store closed, no warning.
Sad, but now I feel
just plain tired all day.
It must be that they
took my blood today.

[from BIG HAMMER No. 15 (which is available by clicking here…]

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