Mother always said that if she had only a single slice of bread, she would cut it
in eight equal pieces. That’s how many children her body nurtured into this world
and every day thereafter until her final breath ascended into the ether.
Of all the words she whispered, shouted, sang and cried
over all the thousands of days of my childhood, those stick most.
It dawns on me, now, she didn’t include herself in that equation.
For every star in our galaxy, there shines a mother, a father who has gone dreadfully
hungry. Many have fallen into the gaping mouth of graves after offering that
last bite of bread to their child. Their final act of love.
That is sacrifice.
We, of full stomachs,
we, whose wildest imaginations will never fathom starvation –
so little is asked of us:
A willingness to strip ourselves of the blinders that protect us from the squirm of discomfort
when we see a boy, a girl, a woman, a man clearly in need of basic nourishment.
But what can I do? Only one person of limited means?
A sack of oranges.
A bag of apples.
A ham or chicken on special sale days.
A pot of soup for a struggling family.
This list could wrap itself around our planet.
We are not asked to solve the problems of the world,
simply to look at the slice of bread we hold each day,
break off a piece from whichever corner feels right.
Extend that open hand.
Open that awakened heart.
(c) By Rosemarie Law
Rosemarie Law (MiMi Zannino) is an author and performing artist. She researched and wrote the historical portrayal “Time-Travel with Emily Dickinson” which she has performed over 50 times.
Hunger-focused Poems by Maryland Poets
Creation of this section and publishing the works of Maryland poets was supported by the Maryland State Arts Council.