Social Justice Poetry

the working poor poems

The Problem with Holidays | A Social Justice Poem by Catherine B. Krause

They’re hard on seven hundred fifty-seven dollars a month. Pennies must be squeezed instead of wished on. Big stores induce quick escapes and fits of heavy breathing, but the small and cheap ones are nice when there aren’t too many people who stare. They used to mock and beat you, now they hand you their number because they don’t know who you really are. It’d be over if they found out, so it’s best when there’s no crowd. If Amazon treated their workers like humans, then the Internet would be what you used to think it was, but they don’t, and you know what that’s like. That’s the problem, I guess.

A Comma Is a Pipe Dream | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

The amount in every paycheck
has a period in it. Those who
get a paycheck every week

dream about seeing a comma
three spaces in front of the period.
Those who have a comma

dream about seeing a 2
in front of the comma
instead of a 1.

Those who have a 2
in front of the comma
dream about a 3.

That’s how it works for those
with good jobs and benefits
but not for those on

minimum wage.
Many of them see only
three numbers in front

of the period every week.
The first number is always a 3
after taxes and deductions.

If a 4 or 5 would replace the 3
they might celebrate a tad
and give a little shout.

But they will never see a comma
three spaces ahead of the period.
That’s a pipe dream not theirs to see.

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