The Voice of Hunger
(Writing the Wrong – Beyond the Wall)
Thoughts tremble and bend so far inward,
Shoulders become cups,
neck lines, exaggerated bones;
chests turn inwardly to reconcile the pain of hunger.
Hope becomes a wall, a place to write the wrongs.
Hunger awakens desperate voices
that echoes from skeletal walls, empty rib cages
that float above scarcity, hopelessness, disbelief
back into swollen bellies that do not distort truth.
An infomercial pulls me so far in,
my thoughts begin to run wildly through the brokenness,
the examination of thin arms and wilting legs,
small hands reach inside me, and turn the pages of my eyes
as I survey the withering and the loss,
the last hope for nourishment.
I become a wall – a place to write the wrongs.
A beautiful child speaks to me as if she knows my heart
Her eyes crouch inside my chest, and bend so far inward,
I churn into another time-zone,
She finds me pearled into a place of shame
a place where my heart tremors into fruit;
I follow her - inside.
She’s my teacher and I, her student.
I sit inside her risen belly – a look of distortion.
Hunger has no name. I write my name of her wall.
I stand in the center of her hands, opened;
she’s waiting to be filled with some assurance; I owe her that.
She lingers in my thoughts, mouth wide opened, like the doors of her heart and soul;
today, she represents every child, every woman and man
with tears that spill onto the shores of our cheeks – they need us.
I am left, contorted as the shapeless spasms
that live in the restless wake of hunger.
I am on the other side of a wall, still frozen by the growling echoes
of starving children, women and men who write their pain, daily on the wall of hope.
Let’s write right the wrong. It’s time to move beyond the wall.
Judges’ Comments – This poem inspires with vivid imagery and with its personal nature. This piece illustrates how poetry – its hover and haunt – can be so powerfully useful in our fight against hunger. “I become a wall – a place to write the wrongs.”