Each day
people without
tell me
who they are.
Master’s degrees
or heroin
or bipolar disorder
or a new steady job that requires ever elusive work boots
or a bruised eye.
It is always both
surprising and not surprising.

Some of the men
in the waiting area
tell me I “look nice today”
They look at my body
as I pass by,
and I don’t know
whether to be angry
or glad
that they finally smiled
about something.

A woman cries
when she tells me
about her three-year-old
with Down syndrome.
A teenager tells me
his mom threw away
all his depression medication.
A child spills Goldfish
on the floor of my office
because he is too ravenous
to eat politely.

I hold their stories
in my hands
like small,
bruised peaches.
Because if I
don’t pay attention
to see when they’re ripe,
who else will?

One thought on “Undervalued

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