Ryan Hardgrove, October 2013


holes in my shoes

out of cigarettes

and only a few coins left

trudge over to the store

stack the change on the glossy counter

the clerk is very accommodating

counting the dimes and nickels

the quarters have been gone for days

and pennies are far too tragic

for spending

with no disdain

but I hate her anyway

especially when she quotes

the final figure

“looks like you have –pause- $6.45 sir”

the way she pauses is what does it

like I didn’t already count it

as if she is enlightening me

with her advanced grasp on mathematics

insane flashes of violence

pulse through my mind


if I’m using change

I’m obviously living in poverty

and if I’m living in poverty

every nickel is certainly accounted for

I know how much change I have

but I can’t be angry with the clerk

I’m really just hungry

and buying cigarettes instead of food



Ryan Hardgrove is a published poet.  His consciousness has grown and meandered like a weed throughout his 27 years crawling upon this rock.  He now lives in a small apartment along the Ohio River, just two miles north of Pittsburgh, PA.  When he is not writing, he is tending bar downtown or pacing on his fire escape smoking cigarettes.

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