I Should Know a Millionaire

By Erik Wilbur

I’ve been in America long enough. I’ve worked beside enough

two-jobs-having-scrubbers-of-piss-stains-from-pitted-grout-in-fast-food-bathrooms.

 

I’ve met my fair share of honest hunched-over-the-dish-pit-scraping-

nibbled-on-fork-fucked-duck-confit-into-trash-bins-SOBs.

You’ve hauled that trash to the alley tons of times. I’ve seen beads of sweat

on many American faces. I’ve seen a bead of sweat catch the right light

 

on a man’s brow and then fall into a scrap-metal bin like a lost diamond.

Each of us should have how-we-made-it stories, instead of stories about waiting

 

all day in a line that runs down a city sidewalk for nothing. Man, I’m tired

of only knowing broke-ass-just-tryin-to-get-by-motherfuckers,

 

tired of seeing skinny dudes my age at intersections twirling cardboard arrows

or watching mothers put items back on grocery shelves after silently adding up

 

the contents of their shopping carts. America, by now I thought

I’d know one millionaire, at least, ‘cause I’ve seen enough bootstrap-pulling

 

to pull whole ghettos out of crab grass and chain link, enough to pull the bars off

every window and every kid off stray-bullet-stray-chihuahua-streets—

 

if no one were pushing down on them, I mean.


Erik Wilbur teaches writing at Mohave Community College in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He is also the program director of Real Toads Poetry Society, a literary organization that provides opportunities for residents of rural Arizona communities to learn about, experience, and share works of literary art. His work has recently appeared in The Southampton Review and Tahoma Literary Review. Insta: @erik_othertwin / @realtoads 

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