Bookstore Poem #192. So you think we’re lucky, do you?

Written today at BookTree in Kirkland during a workshop about persona poems…

I suppose I see why
you might think that now—

but if you’d been there
when the earth died
taking the crop with it

if you’d been there
when there was no place to go
because the folks you were hoping
would help you out
were on their way to ask you
for enough scraps to get by

if you’d been there
when the last ship available
would take you only on the condition
that you stayed down below
with the coal and the cargo
and worked instead of slept

if you’d been there
when the big city beckoned
but every shop window
had a sign telling you
you ‘need not apply’

if you’d been there
when the lines just to get bread
wound around the block

if you’d been there
when a day’s work
might just as easily end in death
and unwinding after a hard day’s work
might just as easily end in death

if you’d been there
when to make it a day past fifty
meant you were a survivor

you’d probably be rethinking
that notion

Lucky for us
it ain’t like that anymore

(17 March 2018)