Free Lunch

Is that what it was, the little movie ticket
I gave to the lunch lady every day
in the winter of 1980 and 1981, in the gym
where we did the Bunny Hop and watched
Otto the Auto and Bill Cosby safety films?

A movie ticket in exchange for canned corn,
rectangle pizza, a carton of milk. At home,
for a time, I know we had powdered milk—
my question (unasked, unanswered) is,

Were we poor?

My father, bricked into our mudroom by
stacks of boxes of resume paper, sitting at
my mother’s old red desk, answering ads
from magazines, often not knowing
what the job was, or where.

Or where.

Today’s Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge prompt was “Free _____.”


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