A Well-Paid Bill . . .

Is a rainless roof
the relief of gas-heating
and a quiet moment
by the built-in at night
with peppermint tea
near the window with the streetlight
where she shelters from the scree of bills
and the guilt of band fees
stolen from his tiny term account.
slivers of his future for a sound present
‘Just a little more to pay’ she texts
before she puts her phone away…

Is another ‘spontaneous’ home holiday
running op-shop clothes
along the line from the asbestos shed
where she stashed her old cigarettes
before a rainy walk to Kmart
for colouring-in books
and printing her email deals
in case her failing battery dies
and checking in at the bottle shop
and so on, gripping her Groupon …

Is flagging the bursting bus
twenty minutes late in the rush
after the $400 bread from
that five-minute double-park
in the school zone by the bakery
took the money for the car rego
and no time to fight the council
and she misses her dented hatchback
with the bald tires, sun-stripped chassis
grinding gearbox and sandy wrappings
from Vietnamese rolls and Happy Meal medals
crunching down there near the pedals

Is the strain of borrowing from her distant dad
now she’s a mum
and pretending she’s sick
when her friends invite her out
so she can turn up late and leave early
and not waste money taking pictures
of unnecessary dinners

Is the comparison-management in three shifts:
One, work at work for work
Two, work at home for him

Three, work on herself
on head maintenance
the daily job of lifting feelings
try to smile
pretend to cheer
when it would be so easy to disappear

Is the fight back and the flat-white
a little café treat with hollandaise
a little guilt she’s not more vegan
(she’s pensive, but … it seems expensive)
but she found a veggie cookbook
and he jumps to throw his hand in
and he learns to make his own lunch
and she enjoys her bottle shop two for one
as they laugh that night at Netflix
she and her favourite little movie critic.

Is a rainless roof tonight and tomorrow
and a hug from someone wonderful
who dreams like her
of futures bright
when he wilts each night
happy like a willow
down, down into his soft pillow