You strop my anger, especially
when I find you in restaurant or bar
and pay for the same liquid, coming and going.
In bus depots and airports and turnpike plazas
some woman is dragging in with three kids hung off her
shrieking their simple urgency like gulls.
She’s supposed to pay for each of them
and the privilege of not dirtying the corporate floor.
Sometimes a woman in a uniform’s on duty
black or whatever the prevailing bottom is
getting thirty cents an hour to make sure
no woman sneaks her full bladder under a door.
Most blatantly you shout that waste of resources
for the greatest good of the smallest number
where twenty pay toilets line up glinty clean
and at the end of the row one free toilet
oozes from under its crooked door,
while a row of weary women carrying packages and babies
wait and wait and wait to do
what only the dead find unnecessary.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Marge Piercy's poem To the Pay Toilet


  1. FearlessDiva says:

    This poem is creative and I really love it. I love that Piercy writes in free verse and how she writes about an event that everyone goes through.

  2. none of your BZ says:

    this poem, I felt, lacked just about everything it needs to be called a poem. If the line breaks were removed, my best way to test a poem, it has nothing that would make sound, feel, act like a poem. not to mention it uses workds that make no sence in this situation. Look the word strop up and the meaning makes no sence in the context. gulls have nothing to control wheter they go or not, in fact they cannot stop themselves and don’t squauk over not being able to go. There are no rhymes, no meter, no artistic use of words, no metephore, no illiterisms. the only reason one might mistake this as a poem are the line breaks. and if they are removed this would be just what this it. a complaint made by a woman with poor use of the english language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Marge Piercy better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.