Made Worse by Jeff Burt

Hurt is the manner in which the homeless
pronounce heart, and in doing so

identify the state of it, their cold
puckered mouths unable to slow

the gutteral vowel. And we, more proud
of our rags than the rich their silk,

we had wanted to feed the famished, turn
tanks and subs into cups of milk.

But words cannot multiply fish and loaf,
so you chose the worming up

the corporate tree and I chose grubbing
out cash for the most appealing group.

Today I handed out cups of coffee
to those who utter hurt for heart

and mean the same, and listened to their cold
hard prose, not a warm word in it.

We have not written for these many years
and I am one made worse for it.

Jeff Burt works in manufacturing. He has work in Dandelion Farm Review, Nature Writing, and forthcoming in Windfall and Thrice Fiction.

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