Avoiding 18 Year Olds

I cross the street when I see a college student.

I have a hard time with youth,

even though I still have one hand caught

in their experiences. In cafes, on the bus,

I carry earplugs. Their dreams,

their talk about first entering work

make static in my chest. There is

not enough room for their disappointments

or their enthusiasms in my many-self

I have grown within me.

Just Don’t Kill the Money Tree

She wants to keep her plants alive
and not own a car. Have warm walls
around her. Her father says there are
some problems you can’t escape –
grit your teeth and put up with it.
(She also has dental bills coming.)
She gets a monthly bus pass
and sees how it goes, sees
how much she prefers to walk,
sees all around her how much pain
can be bought and banished
if you have the time to listen
to where it hurts.