The Skin of Poverty

We called it Red Hill,

but it was no hill,

just a mound of clay

where we ran in joy

because it was ours.

No adult came there

so we were child free

to play and invent

a world far from his

that held no malice,

or words of anger;

never a fist raised

to strike mother's face.

Roger Barbee is a retired educator living on Lake Norman in North Carolina with his wife, one hound, and four cats. His words have appeared in the Washington Post, the Birmingham Arts Journal, Page & Spine, Memoir Magazine, Rain Taxi, Potato Soup Magazine, Ailment, New Southern Fugitive, and other print or on-line publications. His poetry chapbook, Applewood Street, was published in 2022 by Plan B Press. He is a regular contributor to The Sports Column and