Budget Morning

She rises, unrested, and steps

Onto the narrow balcony

To find the day. To greet

The Sunday God she sings to.

But this morning His face is clouded.

Grey and wet as a corpse

Washed by tears.

 

Behind her, in the tangled bedding,

the children bicker and whine.

Worrying the cheap furniture

Like hungry puppies.

They clutch at her threadbare gown

with hands as insistent and

unforgiving as the clock’s.

 

She wishes she could dream.

Finding in the darkness

A life unaided by

The office lights’ bleak florescence,

The whining of the vacuum cleaner,

The endless emptying and

Refilling of rubbish bins.

 

Last night she paused, panting.

Held captive by a single word

‘Wellbeing’. A selfish word.

Comfortable and sated.

A word accustomed

To feeling well and being safe.

A word with a working lock.

 

Budgeting was something

They made her do at WINZ.

Recalling the Miracle of

The Loaves and Fishes.

Jesus feeding five thousand.

She’d settle for food to feed

Five hungry children.

 

Was that happening today?

A budgeting miracle?

Housing found? Children fed?

The man from the adjoining unit,

Heading for the bus-stop,

Eyes her narrowly.

No Jesus here.

 

Chris Trotter

19 May 2022

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