Raised on hand-me-downs and grilled cheese sandwiches,
before a providential elevator boosted her a couple classes.
The defense against scarcity was hard to put aside, the fear
of running short of essentials. It took effort not to spend windfalls
as soon as they landed in her hands. Her parents spent theirs
instantly, before creditors caught word. Before more bad luck
befell them. Nurtured with ramen and chicken nuggets,
now touring fine dining hotspots, speaking farm-to-table lingo
with fellow Foodies (now I’m a Foodie?). Such a long climb
from white grit to diversified investments. She grew up
a little hungry a lot of the time. Weird to hear a socialite say
some skip meals to spare their figures. She throws out
leftovers, since no one reheats them. They don’t need to.
A luxury, to order without checking prices, to consume
without subtracting from other necessities. She eased
in to the leisure set, where she works at relaxing.
Where she faked comfort until she finally felt it.
Raised on mended socks, a bluestocking.
Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Poetry Competition (2016, and 2nd & 3rd places in 2013), the National Writers Series Poetry Contest (2016) and the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Contest (2015). He reviewed for Foreword Reviews, NewPages.com, judged contests for Publishers Weekly, Independent Publisher, Scholastic, Poets’ Night Out, and was editor of Dunes Review. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent poetry and fiction appear in 100 Word Story, Blink-Ink, Cheap Pop, The Lake, Literary Orphans, Sonic Boom, Split Lip Magazine, and The Magnolia Review.