Rent in arrears

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She catches a bus and a train,

then walks

through two miles of rain.

In a truck stop she waits

on people

to order food

and speak abuse,

the steaks not cooked right.

Wash the dishes,

scrub latrines,

finish by three.

Can’t miss the bus back home.

She arrives alone,

leaves cold spaghetti out for her boys

they’ll be home at four

by then she’s out the door.

She catches a bus and a train,

then walks

with her knee that gives her pain

from kneeling on the tiles

all night,

stocking shelves

up and down the aisles,

but not tonight.

In the door he waits,

yells abuse in her face,

tells her she’s late,

no more wage,

that’s warning number eight.

Walking again

in the rain

with her pain

she catches a bus and a train.

Climbs the stairs

level six

she can hear her boys inside.

Keys in hand

in front of her door

there’s a note,

She reads through the tears

rent in arrears…

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