St. Jude's Guilt
Scams were art. I have no excuse. No, I didn’t pray in a pew
so I didn’t know any better. No, I was poor and couldn’t
afford to eat enough puffed rice and powdered milk. No, I couldn’t afford
school clothes. Lord knows, I tried, Lord knows they tried
to shut me down. Pamida encased men’s electric razors
behind locked plates of glass. They never questioned
a ten year old returning three razors at sixty
a pop per week burning saints on leaves in her pockets.
God why can’t I
this point of view to something grand, something that will
change the world, to
kids in Africa, so starved their intestines hang out of their assholes, bright red.
It doesn’t matter which country, I’ve seen pictures,
like mountains of wedding rings, mountains of shoes, mountains of hair.
No, I didn’t see the pictures, I saw the anger and hurt
in my brother’s face, about the kids. No, I was raised for
the sciences, awarded for academic success from the women’s society
of engineers. Is anyone engineering a solution? Or another iphone
and ipad. That’ll revolutionize the world, change the way people
think. But there’s no iphones in Africa. All of those people and no
market. Before I bled, I got caught, I got lazy
and wore a shirt right under my shirt, even left a hanger behind
I stole my brother’s receipts from his basement lair,
where his appendix turned gangrene. We blamed the moldy walls.
I stole everything
he bought and dressed in acid wash and fleece, I returned them for cash.
All pointless work hours, nothing to my small waist and big
jacket. For homecoming, each class choose
a couple to strut in fancy threads, mascot Gremlins on stage. Seeing as I taught
my trade, yours truly was chosen. I had to stuff a huge
puffy-sleeved, sequined, whale of peach, satin dress under my belt. I wasn’t even
prom potential. Maybe the Gremlins were putting me to a test? Like the St. Jude’s Kids
marathon. Twenty bucks is the average bid, that way I don’t have to
come back to collect. Yes, write the check
out to me. But I think they knew. They knew, I’m stuck
donating to pink envelopes, begging chapters, for the rest of my life.