What It Is To Be Lucky

by America Greenfield-Peterson

My whole life money has been something I have worried about. After my parents got divorced me, my mom and my brother lived for a while either on the couches in my grandparents’ house or in a trailer in the driveway for a few years off and on. My parents had to sell the house they bought prior to the divorce so at my dad’s house me, my dad and my brother moved in with his brother and shared their extra bedroom. After about a year, my dad, my brother and I moved in with my dad’s mom and stayed on her couches for a couple years. About a year ago I started to live only with my mom, because my dad wasn’t able to continue living in his living situation at the time. Since then he has been either staying in his car or with friends. This has really made me think about how being homeless or having someone you love who is homeless impacts lives and relationships. I count myself so lucky that I had family nearby that were willing and able to take us in and furthermore the privileges I have received via my grandparents that would have been impossible for our financial situation, i.e. music lessons, horseback riding lessons, a lot of my new clothes and of course housing. I hope this poem will speak to your readers and raise awareness about the reality of poverty in today’s world. 

November 15, the money ran out today,

When I was little we would always buy chocolate when the money was almost gone,

I thought this must mean that we weren’t that poor. 

After all chocolate is a non-essential,

I was wrong.

We would hop in the car, go to the store and pick out our favorite type,

Dark chocolate with salted almonds.

We would smile, laugh and make jokes as the creamy chocolate melted to liquid in our mouths,

The salt challenging our taste buds leaving a pungent yet also sweet taste,

Coating our tongues and clinging to the roofs of our mouths.

Perhaps if we had tasted a raspberry chocolate with flecks of gold which melted like velvet,

We would have hated this salty slate

But we loved its bitter-sweet piquant flavor and relished in every piece.

And yet we are the lucky ones,

Halfway through the month money gone and we are the lucky ones,

There are people out there with no money, no clothes not even houses to call their own,

All across the world,

Within the borders of our own country,

So I say again, we are the lucky ones.

I saw a homeless girl today,

Not a woman, a girl. 

She looked about my age 16 maybe 17,

She held a cardboard sign that said something about parents, lost jobs and money.

She had long dark brown hair and eyes to match

And when I gave her five dollars she said

 “Thank you, God bless you.” 

To her I am most certainly a lucky one. 

To the majority of the world, 

We are the lucky ones.

To be poor is not an anomaly.

It is the status quo under which most of the world must survive.

And It is our policies which dictate how money is spent.

It is our policies that allow children to go without education

And It is our policies which leave developing nations without sufficient financial aid.

Poverty is a global issue,

And as a society we need to have enough empathy and help our fellow human beings,

Because we are the lucky ones.