Sarah Smarsh is a journalist who covers socioeconomic class. She has reported on politics and public policy for the Guardian, NewYorker.com, Harpers.org, and others. Her book on the American working poor and her upbringing in rural Kansas is forthcoming from Scribner in 2018. She lives in Kansas. This essay is from the forthcoming anthology Tales of Two Americas, ed. John Freeman (Penguin, 2017).