On Being Poor

Standard

I was reading this novel

with my students today,

and this character

was talking about

what it’s like to be poor.

He talks about his sick dog

and how this dog

was his best friend

and how there was no other way

to deal with it

than a two cent bullet.

He says how

this is the worst part

of being poor,

and, right there,

in the middle of class,

I start to cry,

thinking of how so many of them

know exactly what this means,

how I know exactly what it means

to be this poor,

and how sad it is

that anyone must feel this way,

especially children,

those innocent minds,

all new to hurt and tragedy.

And then I wonder

if there is a teacher out there

who still wonders if I am okay,

if I am alive

and if I am still that tragic child

with dirt-smudged cheeks

and cold hands.

Do they know

this is what I think about

when I go to sleep in a house

that is better by far

than any of my childhood homes,

better than their childhood homes?

Do they know I dream of them

and ache for their pain?

No, they probably don’t,

but I do.

 

So I cried in class

when the dog died

because Arnold

and his family

didn’t have enough money

to take him to the vet.

I stopped class

and apologized

and one student got up

and hugged me

and we kept reading.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s