Chances and Paydays/ Dale Marie Prenatt



Took off today

from the rest of them

The way you wish you can

when you walk to work


in the rain everyday

& you hate your boss

& you know the work

doesn’t mean shit anyway


You know those days

when you cry a little

before your morning shower?

The Baptism you need, truly


The family next door sleeps

in one room in one bed

in their clutter & disease & fears

while I spread out all over here


From bed sheets crisp, inviting

To the corner of the couch

feet tucked under a novel

tea in mug in hand in me


Or inside the window I sit

three flights up and watch

the cars and busses that squeak

to a short rest and waver on


Such clean walls and fixtures

The only dirt here is in me

Even the cat cleans

himself tidy


The plants ask, Why are you here

you toad, you recluse?

Why not go out?

Bring back news, men?



But houseplants

don’t know hardships

Indoor cacti

can’t imagine the desert


The grind will find

and chew me back into meal

I may hate my boss again

and I might squeak


to a mousy stop on a bus line

Still, I will remember

this quiet, non-speaking day

I will store it as grain to plant


when chances and paydays

lose their gumption

and I may

grow away


33990796_10213984839029010_5328805656889655296_nDale Marie Prenatt is a poet and storyteller from southern West Virginia by way of east Kentucky. Prenatt is a member of the Southern Appalachian Writers Co-op. Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as Quarried: Three Decades of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and her storytelling has been heard on NPR.


Header Image: Creative Commons, Public Domain, modified.

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