After Susan

She was supposed to be better
than the Before Susan,
she knew more
than the Before Susan,
her filter was in place,
replaced every 90 days
or she might be replaced.
She knew how to talk
but didn’t know how to speak–
there was a way,
not an app for that.
She had to live up to those
who helped put her there,
& so she rained haymakers on Anxiety
with all her self-love talk,
pushing & pulling weight–
more than her own–
drinking tea that tasted like crap,
sleeping through dreams
that made her want to wake up
& know for sure that
it was the undead
of her subconscious
simply rising to the surface–
that subconscious she had to drown
She had to borrow a personality,
her candidness made people nervous,
but she was not a loose cannon–
she had no balls of that magnitude;
they were dollhouse-sized,
falling out of her bag
like marbles that rolled away
under the sofa
where dust bunnies
went to live like trolls
& she was too tired to go after them,
so she had to work with less marbles,
she had to fill it up with coffee
& writing & time with family
& all the things that made her happy
because then she could do all things
through that man on the cross
who strengthened her;
she could coexist with the anxiousness,
she would not be the pesticide that
might affect the cream of the crop,
so she was quiet.
She was quiet
& that was not okay,
but she was polite,
& that was okay.

What Money Bought Her

It bought her healthy food,
respectable clothing,
safe and clean shelter,
reliable transportation,
and quality medical care.
It paid for her college education,
which paid off with a career she loved
so that she could escape the job she loathed.
It bought books the library did not have
and toys for those who had little.
It paid for the technology
that connected her to the world.
It gave her family the ability to see that world,
unfiltered through a screen.
It paid for the piano lessons
for her autistic daughter;
for the horse she rode
to alleviate her anxiety.
Whether the money came from herself,
from taxes,
or from charity,
it was money that afforded her these things.
No, it didn’t buy everything,
but it bought everything else.