These bills are long unpaid


To predict disaster, to invoke treachery
and malice, to spin tales of rotten
luck to make it not happen:
it doesn’t work.

The wind is still rising with hail
in its teeth. The waves are piling up
then spilling back way, way baring
bottom you’ve never seen.

There’s ashes in the wind, darling,
a taste of ashes in our food
ashes on our lips in bed
eyes blinded with ash.

There’s a mortgage on my spine
I cannot pay. Somebody has
bought my teeth and wants them
out tomorrow for dice.

There are real monsters under
the bed, hungry for blood. They own
the land this house stands on
to stripmine for coal.

Santa isn’t coming. The bounty
hunter is. There’s a lien on your
ass and the bank is itchy to fore
close your future.

If you’re going to stand get up.
If you’re going to fight, get moving.
Nothing comes to those who wait
but hunger’s claws digging into the soft belly.

If you value your blood, fight to keep
it in your veins. You have nothing
to lose but your life and it was sold to them decades
ago by your parents’ parents.
Their greed is endless.

Your patience shouldn’t be.

By Marge Piercy

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