We all try to get what we can
out of life. Me, I could make do
if you give me a job that pays
enough to get me a good
restaurant meal once a month,
but no night shift;
I’ve had enough of that. Some
people would be content
just to have their kid back,
or to not have to fight some
other gang tonight.
Some people would be happy
to just hold on to their lives
for one more day.

There’s this old maid I know
who says she will never get
married again, never wants
even a boyfriend around.
She’s happy with her life
she says. And I say happy is
a day without being scared
someone is going to hit you—
hard—or not come home, or
come home and act like you’re
not there. I say happy is a word
that can cover a lot of ground.

Selected byJordan Trethewey
Image credit:Huyen Nguyen

Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of Poetry (forthcoming), Kimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly West, Timberline Review, COG, Common Ground Review, Typehouse, Bangalore Review, Two Thirds North, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. As well he has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). He has a Master’s degree from Reed College.