For the Chronicle carrier girls and boys

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

Surplus, too.