The Funk of Poverty
My poverty is the most dangerous kind of poverty. It is religious. This is what I know, what my family and community know.
We pull rabbits from hats
Can I borrow some money, promise I will pay you back, and I need milk for the baby
sorry, don’t got no money either, go sign up for WIC
When I was growing up, my mother told me the government owes Black people money and because they will not give it to us, we have to take it.
My sister and I became masters at the games she played to get money. By the time I was a teenager, I fell into a relationship with a man who taught me how to bag weed and weigh it on the scale—a poverty bond that I thought was love. We were both products of a single-parent home. Both fatherless.
“Cut my food card back on! My baby has no more formula!”
Law & Order: SVU
I don’t want to do this anymore. I need more of the emotional shit, and I know you can’t do that
Starr Davis is a poet and essayist whose work has been featured in multiple literary venues such as the Kenyon Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, the Rumpus, So to Speak and Transition. She is a 2021–2022 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellow and the creative nonfiction editor for TriQuarterly. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York and a BA in journalism and creative writing from the University of Akron. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry and creative nonfiction, Best of the Net and Best American Essays.
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The wall that divided us in those early weeks of my first child’s infancy became a continued separation.