On Behalf of the Ungrateful

by John Grey

So you had a paper route when you were eleven,
rose every morning before dawn,
neatly rolled up every copy of the Tribune,
squeezed them into your bike’s basket,
pedaled your way through the neighborhood,
tossing and tossing without ever once stopping.

And now, fifty years later, you’re not content
to have been paid for that work back in the day.
You want payment now, and not in the form of money.
You’re looking for cash in kind: a gasp or a “Wow” or,
best of all, the admission that we have it a lot easier than you did.

Instead, you get a shrug of the shoulders, an apathetic “So.”
At sixty-one, that’s not enough to live on.

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