She was not judged by her book’s cover
but by the content of her characters—
the characters that made up the syllables
that made up the words
that made up the sentences
that made up the story,
but when that story was reduced to a single title—
to a single author–
it stirred up such ire,
even though few had ever read it,
for the media had already told them
how they should feel about it.
That homeless summer
was a 6-week compressed class
in Financial Insecurity 101.
Their little girl would mention “the old house”
with the private fenced-in backyard,
& HOA fees,
but those things are gone with the wind
that her husband was always chasing
while she was too busy trying to hold on to what they had
to chase after him.
Their new house,
older than their old house,
is within their meager means
but is a blessing, she thinks,
as she rocks out to John Denver
while driving through the hood—
than their old neighborhood was—
collectively bound by the silent mourning
for the lives they left behind.
She used to get upset when her husband didn’t want
to take their daughter to the park—
until he finally told her of all the time he’d spent in them
when they’d had no home
& she’d spent so much time at school & work,
in the labs & the library—
only to crash in the shelter when nightfall came.
She couldn’t have known what he would not confide,
& now she knows not to ask,
for she finally understands.