by Alice Elizabeth Rogoff
They’re too young to have read
the Theory of Surplus-Value.
She’s just been working hard,
delivering the papers,
working on her throw.
He’s just a kid,
he’s too young to know what
the Theory of Surplus-Value means,
he doesn’t know why someone thinks
that he’s a surplus, and the newspaper boys
and girls have to go.
He thinks a surplus is like an extra sack
of potatoes that gets tossed in a truck
and that gets shipped back
or is thrown away,
except he’s ten and she’s eleven,
and unlike sacks
they breathe when they run
and when they laugh, when they
have a little money to take home.
A surplus, she thinks is like pairs
of old jeans in a store
on Mission Street,
except the newspaper girls and boys;
they breathe as they yell and as they cry
and they cry not to have their jobs;
and now little boys and girls are beginning
to understand how people can be