“Inheritance”

Some people I know inherited money,
Much more money than they, or me, or anyone,
Really, ever needs in life.
(And yet they still complain about taxes;
“My God! The Taxes,” the cry, while
Sipping mimosas on the decks of their yachts;
“How dreadful! We only netted three-quarters of
A Million last quarter!”)

Some people I know inherited diseases,
Like the diabetes one of my friends has.
(“I’ve gotta have three toes amputated
Next week,” he says, stuffing cheesecake
Down his gullet; “Third amputation in as
Many years!”)

Some people I know inherited prejudice–
Not theirs against others, but others’ against them.
(“We just want equality,” they say, grinding
Their axes against the stone of public opinion;
“More equality than the majority has!”)

And me, I inherited the middle class–
The lower-middle class, to be precise–
But the truly unfortunate thing is that
I glanced down at my checkbook register,
And when I looked up, my inheritence
Had disappeared, vanished along with the
Surplus, our international credibility,
America’s industrialization (code name for
“Millions of American jobs”), and grandma’s
Apple pie (people just buy Marie Calendar’s these days).
All that’s left are the loans I’ve already defaulted
On and an unspoken prayer.

Just a quick question: can you un-inherit something?

[2010]

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