Robert Couse-Baker CC
Dear Stranger Behind Me In Line At the Grocery Store,
I know you don’t know me, but you’re certainly judging me like you do.
I feel your searing glare, and I hear your exasperated sighs.
You’re not exactly making it a point to mask your contempt.
I know what it looks like:
unkempt white trash in stained pajama pants and yesterday’s ponytail,
using government assistance to buy formula
for the screaming baby on my hip,
sticky and stripped down to her diaper.
How dare I have the audacity to take up your space?
What you don’t know is
this is the last place I want to be.
We just spent twenty hours on the highway
running from a bitch named Rita.
Only weeks ago, we saw footage of the devastation
her sister Katrina brought to New Orleans.
Trapped in gridlock traffic,
the baby got carsick
so many times, she soiled every outfit in her diaper bag.
I do have more clothes packed,
but they are all buried
beneath every keepsake memory I could fit into the car,
because she might not have a home to go back to.
So here I am,
your tax dollars hard at work
holding up the line.
I’m just trying to feed my baby,
so far from where home might not be tomorrow.
I’m not a lot of things,
but I am a good mother.
Lori Franklin-McCoy is a creative human, wife, and mother of three from Houston, Texas. As an up-and-coming writer, her work reflects her own life experiences with family, relationships, grief, trauma, and living with mental illness.
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