A Variation of Losses by Shirley Jones Luke
after John Murillo
There have been a variety of losses, every day is a loss. A loss of peace. A loss of quiet. A loss of mind. Losses are repetitive. A bad day is when I lose good money. It becomes worse when I get more money & can't end the cycle of irresponsible spending. It's a cycle I saw my mom repeat every time she came into some money. The scent of KFC would waft through our apartment. My brother and I were grateful for the treat when we were children, but as we grew older, our needs changed. Nice clothes. Cool sneakers. The latest gadgets. Our desires turned from the need to eat to the need to be like our peers. Mom didn't understand or approve of our adolescent wishes & continued to lose money to fast food restaurants & lottery tickets while my brother & I lost our social status in a sea of ridicule. A loss of self-esteem. A loss of pride. I would lose myself in my studies. Lost in books. Lost in words. My brother would lose himself to the streets. Away from school. Lost education. Lost his way. Found trouble. Lost his innocence. Mom rarely became upset with my brother. As the oldest, it was on me to lead the way & do well in school. Lost my childhood. Lost my innocence. Adulting too soon. Mom lost herself to God, singing Gospel songs. I was losing faith in man & questioning God. Lost my religion. I saw people as cruel & scary. Loss of humanity. I wanted to be more than what I had around me. Asbestos-filled apartment overrun by mice & roaches. Lose the poverty. Lose the shame. When I looked out my window as a girl, I saw the stars twinkling & would lose myself in their light. Lost wishes. Losing hope. Forever dreaming. Even now.
Shirley Jones Luke is a poet and writer from Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Luke has an MFA from Emerson College. Her work focuses on culture, family, and society. Shirley is currently working on a full-length collection. Twitter: @CrazyS