The Money Sickness: A Poem

You taught me that I cost too much money.

You taught me that I was worthless.

You taught me that I bring no value to the table.

You always defined me through money.

The neediness, the lack, the mental sickness, the worries.


You hoped that I would be the solution to your financial

Troubles. You taught me that I added to them.

I was added to the mix and I made things worse.

I made your life worse, worsened your worries,

A child holding on to you, feeling guilty when she felt

Hungry, feeling observed when she ate, feeling judged when she

Swallowed. Counting every single little thing in supermarkets.

Dreading the rage in your face, your eyebrows adding the numbers,

Your fists killing the receipts, the food getting warm, the food

Getting cold, my own rage swallowed so hard,

The big stream of fire in my stomach, bursting my throat,

The fear of you stomping on the gas pedal, your screaming voice

Against the windows of the car.


It was never enough. All I heard was the lack, the red numbers,

You put images in my head that I would sleep on the street,

You slept so well at night and I lay in my bed mind wide open,

Terrified, the guilt, the guilt of being alive, of not adding to the

Income, a child, you made me sick, your words hammering

Against my skull, sucking out the oxygen, filled with your worries,

Your secret lives, your luxuries you kept for yourself, and what a burden

You infected me with, put on me, parental guidance, parental misleading,

How could you sleep at night? I was an insomniac child because I thought

About my own death.


And still you’d only add the numbers. The dozens of folders

Full of debt and accounts and bills and fractured minds,

The shelves of horror, the receipts, the tenacity, the letters,

The fury, I never wanted to grow up, would I become like you?

All of this for what? To wake up enraged, to go to bed enraged?

Is that the price you pay to play house? Why you were absent?

Why you chose to be absent even when you were present?

Why you only spoke languages of violence, your body, violent,

Against mine, against my mind, you let your fogs get into my head.


You taught me that money was not my friend,

You humanised money, nothing had ever been

Your fault, money was the fiend, money was a

Plague, lack, lack, lack, into my head, into my life,

Emptiness, worries, guilt, money could put the greatest

Smile on your face and transform you into a perpetrator,

It never made sense, what now, what then, I couldn’t

Understand, you scapegoated a neutral object and it

Metamorphosed into a monster that I started to believe in

And fear, the monster that swallowed my father, the monster

With its mouth wide open.

woman holding burning newspaper
Photo by Jhefferson Santos on

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