Poem by Linda Ankrah-Dove
Big jars full of quinoa, brown rice, millet, even teff and couscous.
A poor flat world—Bolivia, Bengal, Zambia, Ethiopia, Morocco--
has given me here in the Shenandoah Valley these exotic food gifts.
Countries trade staple foods for milk condensed and gushed into cans
from the teats of cows overgrazing our western prairies.
The rich flat world desires ever more, whatever grows over the horizon.
But we need some hills to see over. So, tariffs and custom controls.
Now the voracious virus has jumped the man-made walls.
The entire flat world flips over like an omelette missing the pan.
Village farmers in Bolivia, Bengal, Zambia, Ethiopia, Morocco,
can no longer tread the feeder roads to haul their crops to market.
Families in war zones—Yemen, Sudan, Ecuador—have no safe moist soil
for food. Humans there waste with hunger. Starvation soon.
I watch the news and close my eyes at swollen bellies,
infant eyes enormous, arms and legs like the shift sticks on our farm trucks.
Not in my back yard, though.
I have learned what inanition does to school-age children
with supurating sores, mothers with breasts like emptied sandwich bags
and black eyes when frustrated fathers rage with their hands.
And now the food banks in my home town are short of basics
for the long lines of hungry here in this rich agricultural valley.
And this season, I plan to grow in my own back yard
potatoes, cabbage, onions, beets and maybe sunflowers as a luxury.
Linda Ankrah-Dove has done aid work in many food-insecure countries. She now trusts poetry to touch hearts and motivate us to change the world into a healthy paradise for all.
Now more than ever
These poems have been submitted to the call for poetry "Now more than ever"