Planet Asshole by Frank Reardon

She’s exhausted, her feet hurt.
She has 4 children,
proud and hard working.
Too proud for food stamps,
but her hungry children
need to eat, need an education.
She tells herself:
“Maybe I can get a second
shift at the diner? Maybe a second job?”
The fire in her belly
ignites, even if the flames are only enough
to burn the tips of yesterday’s classifieds.
Maybe she’ll find someone to love
her tired eyes. Someone to drink
and share stories with.
Someone to go places with.
Someone to create a life with.
She opens a bottle of wine
she had saved for 2 years.
She sits back, plays music,
and drifts in between the lamp
and the dark shadows of the wall.
She sips the wine, everything
will work out, somehow, someway.
She laughs about being stressed
and about going to apply for food stamps,
“it’ll all work out”, she tells herself, again.
She thinks of her husband who died
in Iraq, how she loved him.
He was handsome, a marine.
She misses the way he made her
smile, how he took care of her,
loved her, built a life with her
as equals. And how he touched her.
She puts her fingers down
the front of her pants,
remembers him
and forgets it all.
Tomorrow she’ll apply for the second job,
she’ll get temporary food stamps.
Her dignity is restored.
Until the next day,
when the boring politician man,
the full-of-shit rich man,
with the fancy cigar
and the new Mercedes
hands her a cup and tells her to piss
in it.
“Why?” she asks.
“I don’t believe that you’ve worked so hard
raising 4 children on your own. Impossible!
Here on planet asshole we lack compassion.
We must know if you’ve ever booted smack,
snorted coke, or popped pills,
before any child can eat!”
He forces the cup into her hands.
She instantly regrets opening the old bottle
of wine.

Frank Reardon was born in 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Minot, North Dakota. Frank has published poetry and short stories in many reviews, journals and online zines. His first poetry collection, Interstate Chokehold, was published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2009 as well as his second poetry collection Nirvana Haymaker in 2012. His third poetry collection Blood Music was published by Punk Hostage Press in 2013. In 2014 Reardon published a chapbook with Dog On A Chain Press titled The Broken Halo Blues. Frank is currently working on more short fiction.

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