South End Stew: Worlds Apart

by Kayla Blau

Ashley is 12
Latchkey kid, supper in the foil again
Just leave your report card on the bedside table
Soon lost in the piling bills, coffee rings
Court reminders, medications, rolling papers
Her mom say nobody in a shelter should be buying pre-rolls anyway
She say her daughter was a mistake and she let the other one go, go
She say she feels like herself again
Blazes out the door, rollie already lit
She say she’d rather have a normal job but she knows nights and corners and somebody has to feed the kids
The kids take care of her come sunrise
Tip toe around her, leave her cold eggs before heading to school
Crumpled up homework sinks backpack
Knot in throat grows legs
The kids tell me they have the type stomach ache that doesn’t go away
The gnawing type, the knowing type
“I don’t know”
Where my mom is who my dad is when we’re getting kicked out of here what school I’ll go to next year why my friends parents look at me a little too hard,
like maybe they know
How to stomach it all
Keep it all together
We’re not together
we’re not together

Ashley is 12
Summers at the lake house, dinner with the nanny again
Just leave your report card on the kitchen table, soon lost in the piling Nordstrom bills, medications, to do lists,
Mom say she didn’t like how her husband looked at their hired help so she let her go, go
She say one of their two dishwashers is broken and they’re “just trying to get by”
The kids drink meal replacement shakes come dinner time
She say that flab around the middle is getting embarrassing and somebody has to monitor what they eat
The kids sit silent in their second dining room,
Sneak moms credit card, hit the mall,
Find solace in the name brands
Come home to self hate & empty rooms
Steal moms liquor, get loaded to mask it
We’re not together
We’re not together


One thought on “South End Stew: Worlds Apart”

  1. Thanks. Unfortunately I cannot attend everything I want to attend or meet everyone I want to hear, but articles here often take me places I missed and introduce me to those I want to know. The Panthers, the activist, over and over I am proud to be a South Seattle Emerald subscriber. Thank you.