mother, your blue collar son

mother, your blue collar son
did not get the retail job.
got the warehouse job.
heard disappointment spring a leak
when he told you.
hadn’t felt disappointed
until then.
gets why.
He could be lifting boxes
back in Nicaragua.
And despite your expectations,
the college degree
landed him here.
He needs the money.

mother, your blue collar son
has the credit card
for emergencies.
mother, your blue collar son
switched from American Spirits
to Parliaments. Is considering
switching to Newports. It
would save him two dollars
per pack.
Has not considered
quitting. Does not know how much
he spends on cigarettes each month
Is afraid to do the math.

mother, your blue collar son
read The Count of Monte Cristo
and wrote two poems
last week. He liked
The Count of Monte Cristo
and his friends liked the poems.
He knows
that is not enough.
Does not know
what is enough.
Does not measure success
in salaries.

mother, your blue collar son
would hate the office job.

mother, your blue collar son
read three articles on
immigrants expecting more
from their children.
remembered your stories
about not knowing the right words
to trick-or-treat with
in English.
Then texted his ivy-league brother.
Then laughed when his brother
said he was the favorite.
Then thought about it all night.

mother, your blue collar son
is happy to be paying the rent.
happy to be writing these poems.
imagines getting buff
working at the warehouse.
imagines getting published.
is happy.
has sworn off words like, “enough”
to describe happiness.
flinches when you use those words
to describe money.
does not measure success in salaries.
Knows what is enough,
does not know
what is enough
to you.

mother, your blue collar son
does plan
on more than this.
is starting small, and knows it.
does not need speculation
on how small.
regrets telling you the wage
for this reason.
stop calling you back
for this reason.
is happy, but
with every intention
of becoming more
than what he is.

mother, your blue collar son
is not doing this
for you. Is not
doing this because
he has to.
Is doing this
because
when he was little
you told him
he could.

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6 thoughts on “mother, your blue collar son

    1. Thank you! I’m glad it could be of use. I’ve edited it and switched in the edits here, but if you prefer the original, I can send it your way.

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