The challenge is to write about hardship, but
it feels too much like complaining. Like, what

do I know about pain? I’m still alive, right?
I didn’t go to war;  never even had a fight.

Sure, I’ve been late paying the rent; sure
there are times when I still miss her;

sure, I’ve missed a few payments, been
rewarded with higher interest, and seen

my credit score plummet, but I’ve never held
a friend’s hand while he breathed his last, smelled

the stink of decay after death, or even stayed
around when I knew one was going. Afraid

of hardship I distracted myself for years,
but is hardship just avoiding your fears?

I wasn’t there when J___ fed exhaust into
his car; we’d lost touch when M___ grew

too sad and fed herself the barrel. Never mind
a broken heart; never mind your confined

desires or financial insecurity. If everything
is relative, never worry about regretting
what just comes down to more complaining.

PAD Challenge 7: a poem about hardship


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