Poetry

Only Seventeen

So, that’s how you get into a studio—
where your neighbor on your right
mugs your neighbor on your left,
and no one cares

Poem by Natalie McNabb - www.nataliemcnabb.com Doodle by Luigi Scarcella

Doodle ©Luigi Scarcella

When they pick me up, Mother
won’t come
get me.
This lifts my runaway status,
sets me
free.
I find a job tidying shelves,
sweeping, dusting,
wiping
the toilet in a thrift shop. But, I need
a place to sleep.
I am tired
of The Y. And, I need
a place to eat.
I am sick
of McD’s. And, my searching ends
something like this…
“Have a job?”
and I nod.
“How old?”
and, though
I tell him—twice—
“I’m seventeen,”
he says, “If you’re eighteen and
have a job, just
sign here.”
So, that’s how you get into a studio—
where your neighbor on your right
mugs your neighbor on your left,
and no one cares
when three guys rob your place
while you’re there,
where you find needles
in the ashtrays
and smell a dead guy
in a storage locker
while you’re washing, drying,
folding laundry
in the basement
— when you’re only seventeen.

~ The Stone Hobo, June 2011

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