Net Worth

net worth,      a face
strung out           like a net
like a meth-head, that’s a net,             strung out
cast into           outcast      waters.

what is the deductible   expense
of my mother’s un-medicated, rotting tooth?
of my unmedicated, of her un-medicated   rotting…
thumb?
you don’t expect poor people’s kids      to learn to speak
I’m saying it for you   eloquently
   	 maybe this way          you’ll listen
this isn’t a metaphor
   	want me to use a double negative?
will that make it authentically impoverished?
this ain’t no that, this is literal
I’m asking you   what is the value— the cost— of a rotting hand, tooth, face?
what is the word mother, to you?

that blind horse, that pain thing    where       you want her to be well,    you want her
to        be         well
when she is
suffering     is     suffering    is    suffering
bring a rose
I’ll get Gertrude to say it
repeat it     ad nauseam
maybe something will happen       maybe someone will
throw up

have you ever watched a face fall
like leaves      from a tree that becomes
more barren        each time?

have you cast a net into outcast water
repeatedly,       maniacally
like meth-head fishing for healing like a fish that won’t stop
 seizing for water in air?
calculated net worth   assets that exist above
liability
and fished out
a rotting tree
that has your mother’s face?

–Chavisa Woods


Poetry

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