I loved eating over at your house.
Thirteen children squeezed into a picnic table
in a drafty back room with two refrigerators.
One just for milk, unless you had the kind
your mother made with powder in a plastic pitcher.
Your teenage sisters with puffy ratted hair
came dancing in after American Bandstand.
Always two babies in high chairs angled in at the corners
Sometimes Tommy, Nancy, Jeanie, Marie.
Strawberry pancakes in a box for supper most nights.
You could make them yourself just pour in the water.
Cherry and orange Kool Aid to drink, what a treat.
Stiff marshmallows for dessert, didn’t care much for that.
But the catsup or mustard sandwiches you made for lunch.
those were something else, being a mustard lover myself.
Sometimes for snacks margarine on toast sprinkled with sugar.
You called it donut bread.
Your sister wrote a book decades later in life,
talked about hiding food under her bed at night.
I remembered how thin all of you were.
How you must have been hungry on the basketball team
or swimming across the city pool in the heat.
We used to switch back and forth, your house and mine
How you loved eating over at my house each time.
Laurel Chambers is a former English and Journalism teacher. She is very active in the Cincinnati, Ohio writing community. Her first Chapbook, Places in the Mist, published by Finishing Line Press. will be coming out in February 2022.
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!