without a seat belt

without a seat belt

A Poem by Marie Anzalone

She said, being poor,

for the woman,

is exactly like depression.

like shame. like Tolkien’s

too little butter spread

over too much bread. it is

bargaining for your daily

goods from people who think

you are lying.


about everything.


It is not intangible.

all 5 senses are

involved in this conspiracy

to hijack your spirit

and subvert your will.


being poor.

it looks like the floor you

washed without soap.

the way you are

paying for your coffee

with quarters.


it sounds like the

way you lose your temper

when someone asks you

to just keep giving

a little bit more, just

add another f*****g

hour of work

to your day.


It is the feeling

of menstrual blood

running down your leg

when you stand up

because your period came


your paycheck did.


It is

getting abnormal results

on your PAP test and

knowing you will not

go back for the follow-up

because you could never

cover the treatment

and you have

already asked too much

from your family.


it is the smell of the glue

you use to repair thrift store

boots for the 3rd, 5th, 8th time.

it is stale urine

and that sense of unease,

it is the meat that is

probably a little expired

but your body is craving

the protein.


it is the taste of fast food

breakfasts and bread

and watered down weak

tea; it is savoring the

sweetness of a banana,

it is that one time

this month you had

real chocolate.


it is being left behind

while everyone else is out

celebrating, it is the sense

of isolation so deep

you convince yourself

this was all you were ever

made for.


it is being so caught up

in the act of surviving

that you are not sure

if living will ever show

its face, again. it is the

devastation of every

rejection letter after every

interview and wondering


how much longer

you can hold on to the

madly spinning

tilt a whirl that you

boarded without knowing-

that only after the ride

started, did you notice,

there is no seat belt.


© 2017 Marie Anzalone

Author's Note

Marie Anzalone
quickly written, will probably edit before I translate this one

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Added on November 2, 2017
Last Updated on November 2, 2017


Marie Anzalone
Marie Anzalone

Xela, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Bilingual poet, essayist, novelist, and technical writer working in Central America. "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, .. more..