The Eyes of Others

Take the woman with food stamps on the check-out line
who is causing such a delay, the woman resembling my
mother, small, wearing glasses, with a nervous smile, 
the high-school diploma she never got the credits for
still on a shelf in her mind, under fifty years of dust, 

the school itself gone, like her sister’s furniture, all 
those stainless steel pots, the dull silverware she 
polishes at night. Notice her fidget as the clerk tears 
off the coupon. The young housewife next in line 
losing patience with her child, and sniffing the air, 

trying to be charitable, hoping this goes quickly, 
as the woman explains these stamps are her daughter’s:  
her sick daughter’s, the dark-eyed phobic who lives 
with her. And isn’t it too bad that some of us wake 
to an absence, though the moon is still visible, 

thinning in the sky, and isn’t it too bad these stamps 
don’t buy the happiness so many others enjoy?  
And what is your little girl’s name, isn’t this a
school day? Oh, there’s so much that God provides
besides hunger and illness, if it doesn't get lost. 
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
Contents | The Gory Details