No COLA Raise Next Year
No question the refugees in Europe
have it bad as do the garment workers
in Bangladesh as do the migrants
herded to America for a fee
and dumped at night to find their way
through brush beneath the lights
the border patrol has whirling.
Millie and Tillie are ancient sisters
who live in Iowa and worry about
those less fortunate on the news
every night before they turn in.
The sisters never married, live on
what they call fixed income in a
farm house Mom and Pop left them.
They worked in town for years
at dime stores, have no pensions,
live on a little social security,
expect no COLA raise next year.
They use cash or money orders
to pay small bills, have no credit
because they never needed it
and keep their savings in a sock
to buy necessities when things get
tough at the end of the month.
But they get by with a garden
and can their pole beans and tomatoes
and get their Pepsodent and Charmin
from the pantry at church.
They were doing okay until last week
when the old water heater quit
and they had to call a plumber.
First time for everything, Millie said,
and now the sisters don’t know where
they’ll get two grand to have
the plumber take the old heater away
and special order one that will fit.
He’s new in town and always in a hurry.
But Tillie says they have two kettles
in the basement and the stove works
so she’s certain they’ll get by.
After all, Mom and Pop always did even
when a hurricane snatched the harvest.
Bullies and the Wimp
They laugh at him
because he’s weak
by their standards
but they don’t realize
they’ve signed a
contract with him,
a lifetime guarantee
It will be fulfilled
perhaps tomorrow or
maybe on a wedding day
or years from now at
the funeral of a loved one
when they’re as vulnerable
as he appears to be
and for the moment is
but they don’t realize
the spider in its web
looks slow to any fly
Bugs and People
No season of the year is best
for being homeless though
autumn warns the worst is near
and those who sleep in doorways
want to learn their options as to where
it might be best to spend the winter while
those who spend summer in the garden
sneak under doors and over transoms.
Folks step on bugs indoors and bring
their winter needs for shelter to an end.
This time of year before the holidays,
folks with roofs are toasty while
homeless bugs and people aren’t
although it’s true that fewer bugs
have to live outside all winter.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.