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Just In Case

by Adam D. Fisher, 2022

Fred, whose car broke down,
didn’t have money to fix it
and lost his minimum wage job
because he couldn’t get to work.
Then, because he couldn’t
pay his rent, he was evicted
from his basement apartment.
Now he lives in the woods
off Rogers Road in a spot
among the bushes so he can’t
be seen even in winter.
He’s made a bed of old quilts
he found in a dumpster;
keeps a sharp knife under
his pillow just in case.
He collects bottles to make
a few dollars, stole a bike
he uses to get around
and ask for work,
eats in soup kitchens,
washes in their bathrooms.
Finally he got a job
as a night cleaner in an office.
He washes the floor,
empties baskets and cleans
the bathrooms.
At least it is warm.
Soon, he’ll save enough
to rent a basement apartment
but he won’t get a car—
won’t take a chance
on unexpected bills.