Economicsby Rhina P. Espaillat
The youngest of the nouveau-poor
eat with the neighbors when they can.
They know they mustn't ask for more.
The boy is told to be a man;
the girl does what she's told she must.
Relatives keep them if they can,
and tell them to have faith, adjust;
what doesn't kill you makes you strong;
learn to work hard; scrimp when you must;
play by the rules—you won't go wrong;
one day it's going to be your turn;
being poor won't kill you: just be strong….
But though they work, they barely earn;
this doesn't play the way they've heard.
How will it get to be their turn?
Poverty doesn't say a word.
Those few among the nouveau-poor
who try to speak will not be heard.
Money's what talks. It asks for more.