fall 2018 / Poetry 2018 / volume 49

Dues—Katie Pontious

July heat weighs heavy on my shoulders
like a freight train or a case of cement

poured on me instead of our work site.
Troweling blades have been banned

ever since one carved a jagged lightning
bolt of pain deep into my forearm, blood

sloshing like a 7-Eleven slurpee onto the
newly-poured sidewalk. It needed

stitches but my daughter needed ballet
classes more. Olivia wants to be a

ballerina when she grows up and between
the price of costumes and the cost of her future, the

car hasn’t had gas since May. WIC’s
letter came in the mail today. Olivia’s birthday

was last month. The severance package is free
and reduced lunch, but that doesn’t help

when she’s at home. Jennifer’s
been puking, every morning like punching

a time card. The test costs four dollars but the truth
costs thousands. David understands, of course,

but if the rent is late again he doesn’t make the rules
he just carries them out. It’s nothing personal.

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