Hunger wears a face full of hope
like the girl on the magazine cover
cradling a loaf of white bread
as if it’s a miracle. Tonight she will
sleep with food in her tummy.
Hunger’s face is innocent
like the little boy buying a corn-dog
at the corner store or his neighbor
who’s grateful for two plump strawberries
tucked in the family’s food box.
Hunger tells the same story
sweeping across time and place
from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl
to Mississippi’s Delta towns—
Loss and desperation landing sucker-punches
on families across America.
Hunger’s face is weary
like the fictional Rose O’Sharon
heavy with grief after birthing
her stillborn child. Her pain ripples
through the air, palpable and raw
like the fresh scar on her heart.
She seeks refuge from the rain
in an old barn, a boy offers
her a musty blanket. She spies
an old man huddled in the corner
gripped by hunger like a fist in his belly.
Rose offers him the only gift she has
lying down next to him, baring her breast,
and sharing her milk.
Click on the file below to listen to Ann read her poem:
Ann Bracken has authored two poetry collections, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom and The Altar of Innocence, serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review, and co-facilitates the Wilde Readings Poetry Series. Ann advocates for arts-based interventions for mental health, education, and prison reform.
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.