The Doctor

I wonder what it’s like
To go to the doctor
And not have to decide which
Thing will break me.
I tell him it’s a week’s wages for me
To find out if it’s pneumonia or what
At least there are no x-rays
He thinks I am lying. Nobody makes that little.
And if I only worked more
Or gave up wine on the weekends
Brunch
The Good Lipstick
Coffee
If I gave up every last extra small pleasure,
Pressed the salvaged dollars together like
Holy stones
Spent every waking moment dutifully devoted to
Necessity And Nothing More
I would then deserve to go to the doctor.

When I am dead someday
Of an ailment I could not afford to have
I wonder what he’ll say at my funeral,
If he will tell stories
Of how wild and imaginative I was,
If he will forget
Every precious thing about me
Was a choice between
Earning a living
And loving anything at all.

When you are poor, you wait to die.
It hangs over you
Like a prophecy.
So you buy that latte. Because you can’t afford it. Because it is Tuesday.
Because if you didn’t, if you saved every spare
Bit of change
So that someday you would be ready
To pay for the chemo
You’d just be buying more years of a life lived
With no indulgence: A reminder that
You don’t deserve anything but basic survival.

And even if consumption cannot be ethical,
You’re still being consumed.
So what if you want the latte
At this point.

Tomorrow I am buying two expensive lipsticks
Out of spite.
When it is my turn,
I will do it beautifully.

 

 

Nina Szarka

Photo credit: UrbanDecay   source