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May 24, 2015 | by  | in Poetry | [ssba]

Chocolate Milk

I couldn’t pay my grocery bill yesterday
but you bought $7 chocolate milk.
I put back the bulk tub of margarine
but you bought $7 chocolate milk.
I even had to return the cereal, on special for ‘$2.99’,
but you bought $7 chocolate milk.
I had only enough to pay for white bread and precooked sausages,
but you bought $7 chocolate milk.
By the time I’d finished, the checkout chick was examining the intricacies of her cuticles while the people in line behind me huffed and sighed, itching to beep through their organic dairy products and whole grain loaves.
Cast disapproving looks at my kid’s bare feet,
and buy $7 chocolate milk.

Do you know how much bread I can get for $7?
I can get 7 loaves for that.
And Lord knows I’m not Jesus,
maybe I need more than 5 loaves to perform minor domestic miracles,
and the only fish my kids have ever eaten has been battered or out of a can, so don’t tell me shit about essential fish oils when all I have is the bare essentials.
I struggle to feed two, fuck 5000.
Do you know how much margarine I can get for $7?
Two 1kg tubs.
Do you know how much milk I can buy for $7?
Two 2 litre bottles, if I shop around.
And for $7, you bought 750mls of chocolate milk.
And for $7, anything I can afford will never fully satisfy two hungry stomachs,
or fill the foreseen holes in their future caused by what they didn’t have.
What I couldn’t give them when they were young, what I had to turn a blind eye to;
stolen lunches, shoes, sweatshirts and toys, because each minor offence was a reminder of what I could not give them.

Fill up on cornflakes. I don’t have $7 so for another week we’ll have to struggle to make do with what we don’t have.
Once again, all I have is too little for two little ones.

[ssba]

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