i was cut cloth, half-sewn
from a mother who didn’t know her last name
but knew wealth as it came from parent’s privileged pockets,
licked fortune like purple pomegranate juice
from effete fingertips.
i was nurtured
by a father who knew poor like the alphabet,
grew up tasting powder in his milk and
watched the world from beside the heater, where
it’s cold was not a complaint.
i am paid bills and maniac hands under couch cushions,
out-of-state tuition and student loans,
detroit summers and missouri winters,
a boy who never learned his own address
and a girl who knew hers by heart.
now i am the product of merit,
brown eyes that take the world for granted.
i am clipped lawns that will never know
hand-me down houses,
but my father tells me not to forget.