As I Pay Forty Dollars By Susan Eisenberg

for my asthma inhaler that
last year cost fifteen
I pause for the mom
whose young son will forget
his inhaler / on the bus /
at his friend’s house /
in the park / at the game /
maybe in his school locker /
who’ll forget to remember
he sometimes needs
that inhaler to breathe
or what $40 costs.
How she might
slap the back of his head
or try to shake some respect
into those thin shoulders
or might yell words she’ll regret
but cannot unsay
or worse
how she might
just sit down
in a slump
that faraway
given-up look
on her face
until he promises to find
that inhaler / never
lose it again ever.

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