Poem by Kelly Van Nelson
Dinner for One
I remember the angst of scavenging for nourishment;
the excitement when sustenance
was found in a tin of spam
selected from the self-service menu
in a kitchen cupboard slammed with a bang,
breaking up an otherwise stony silence
while preparing dinner for one
No distraction from acrid smell of poverty,
an airborne virus infecting my nostrils
attempting to satisfy growling malnutrition need
because very child needs a daily feed,
no point in letting the situation bread contempt
as who gives a shit about trying to represent
the groundhog day of the twisted event
that although lonely was still a highlight when imminent;
my desolate dinner for one.
My parched lips washed it down
with unfiltered tap water
consumed while perched on a rickety chair,
wobbling as if laughing at my misfortune sitting there.
A chipped orphan plate scorning hungry eyes
always lowered, scarred from my mother’s glares filled with despise,
familiarity in that crockery that saw behind the scenes mockery
towards child welfare that forgot to be there
to witness my dinner for one.
The pièce de résistance dished up on scratched pine surface
barren of pretty tablecloth,
not ever needed since I’d never dare spill a drop.
Even if I did I’d use my tongue as a mop
to make the most of my dinner for one.
Indigestion took hostage of my stomach
when I too quickly crammed tasteless morsels into my young mouth
that hung open, forgetting to close with the chew,
table manners were never something taught by you,
fingers my utensils, there was no silver spoon
to shovel in my meal because mother would be home soon.
Needed time to wash up, no excuse for her to raise hand
to beat me black and blue for being so bad.
It was cold in the bosom of the kitchen without the oven on.
Why waste energy serving up dinner for one?
Here is the link to the video of Kelly reading her poem: https://youtu.be/nC_Q0qqZCEQ
Kelly Van Nelson from Sydney, Australia is the #1 bestselling author of Graffiti Lane and Punch and Judy. Her poetry has featured in numerous international publications and she regularly discusses social issues in the media. Her books are frequently gifted to celebrities, including Hollywood Oscar winners. She is the recipient of a KSP First Edition Fellowship, winner of the AusMumpreneur ‘Big Idea Changing the World’ Award for her literary impact as an antibullying advocate, and Roar Success winner for Best Book and Most Powerful Influencer. In the spare time she doesn’t have, she hangs out on the open mic performing poetry. She is based in Sydney, Australia and is represented by The Newman Agency - www.kellyvannelson.com.
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