Even when we didn’t have anything, we had something – by Shirley Jones-Luke

Hardwood floor, stained, edges charred black
years of praying, of playing, of crying

Cobwebs in the windows, roaches on the walls, mice commuting
between rooms, remnants of their travels cover our feet

Wild cats commune in the backyard, meowing at the moon,
stray dogs lurk nearby, growling, hungry for dinner

The kitchen is quiet except for the steady hum of the refrigerator,
loaded with government cheese, hard as a brick, giving us belly aches

as we stand in the bathroom, staring at the cracked plaster, dirty tub and dingy toilet, mom was too tired to clean today, or any day

A spider captures a fly in its web home, an old lamp shade,
the fly’s struggles are futile, but it still struggles, so do we

My lap is a desk as I write a story, a narrative of poverty
my young mind seeking meaning, it’s elusive

Books surround my body as the TV blares in my brother’s room
our mother sings hymns from a church we no longer attend

I am the center of their universe and they are the center of mine
we revolve around each other like planets around a sun


Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and writer. Ms. Luke lives and writes in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a 2016 Watering Hole Poetry Fellow. Her poems have been published by Deluge, ENUF and The Voices Project.


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