Autumn Noelle Hall
Every Time It Rains, It Rains
this bowl of sky
that which holds me holds nothing
My single-parent income, comprised almost entirely of alimony and child support, is paltry enough to qualify my college-aged daughter for a Pell Grant. The $3500 pays about half of one semester's tuition, and I pay the remaining half plus $14 out-of-pocket. When it comes time to file taxes, the one offsets the other, and I am only able to claim $14 in college-related expenses.
pennies from heaven
Detailing the plight of an impoverished hispanic mother, my free verse poem, Manos Y Metates, nets me the $50 1st Place Adult Poetry win for Messages from the Hidden Lake. I cash the check from the Southern Peaks Library District, using it to the fullest advantage to declare Earned Income Credit.
a jack rabbit hidden
in the rabbitbrush
Turbo Tax estimates a $214.00 refund. But then I remember the $500 my daughter borrowed from the small ESA my father left her as an inheritance. Factoring in her text book money, the calculator takes my refund back down to $14.00.
the taste of dust...
hauling small potatoes
in a burlap sack
The FAFSA application for my daughter's financial aid is flagged for review, presumably due to the absurdity of my income. I drive the sage-strewn expanse of the San Luis Valley hand-carrying official copies of my IRS 1040 to an incredulous One Stop clerk at Adams State College.
"Only $50.00 in earned income?!"
"Couldn't you just sell more poetry?"
Wondering to myself how many poetry books she'd ever purchased, I don a wry smile before answering, "I'll work on that."
a magpie, laughing himself
What is the value of a valley that writes itself with wind? Today, I cannot see the crown of mountains for all these dust devils dancing.
still the treed cicadas sing
The title is taken from the chorus of "Pennies from Heaven" (Arthur Johnston / Johnny Burke)