Commitment

11 p.m. almost. Subway to streetcar. Transfer.
Arms full of everything. Another stop. Waiting.
Small cup of coffee, downtown McDonald’s.
Her son now asleep across her lap, in a parka
for comfort more than warmth.
Gently her fingers trace the soft brow.
Her smile is faint.
Still in her teens; too young for motherhood.
She called it an accident, and not a mistake.
Mistakes are missing the bus, leaving a sock
at the laundromat, or forgetting her lunch
in the rush to make it to her dead-end job,
or daycare. Accidents happen.
Left home at sixteen, who would know
if her own mother even cared. Or noticed.
Her son is everything.
Only a partner, not much older than her,
but still here. His family is far away,
and still not there. He has a purpose.
Commitment is a word they both respect.
Love grows when allowed.
He works two jobs.
The streetcar ride is time together.
November is chilly. Lost in a big city.
Together. They often use the word family.
Too much is riding on chance
and the next paycheque. Rent, bills, diapers,
groceries and the unexpected.
She eats less, not always by choice.
He says he wants more; he will work for it.
He does. Soon off work, another streetcar.
Subway transfer, then home
to all they can afford. Together.
You will see, she whispers to the sleeping child,
more often than not money is not as important
as they make it out to be.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

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