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Monday, March 08, 2010


by Scot Siegel

When I reach for the fair-
trade chocolate bar

I cannot afford
something tugs from the periphery

and I am snagged by a reverie
with clear green eyes

and amber hair
She has an altruist’s smile

though she’s done nothing heroic
She’s just standing there

in the checkout line
working her way

through junior college
as evidenced by the yellow sticker

on the spine of Advanced Calculus ––
And when she asks me

ever so plainly
and without the pretense to which

we’ve grown wearily accustomed
in this age of exclusionary

tuition, no public option, & no jobs
for the newly-minted teachers among us:

Are you all right, Mr. Siegel?

All I can do is shrug. I have no answer
No credit history

I am self-employed

Scot Siegel lives in Oregon with his wife and their two daughters. He serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford.  Siegel’s first book, Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008), was selected as one of Oregon's 150 Outstanding Oregon Poetry Books. Pudding House released Siegel’s chapbook Untitled Country in 2009. Siegel edits the online poetry journal Untitled Country Review.