#NationalPoetryMonth 9/30

There’s a pot of air on the stove.
You drove seventy miles. paid for that glass
and I can’t remember the last good meal I had,
but bring it up here. I’ll help you. I’m not angry.

from “Starvation”

Today’s read: Cruelty: Poems by Ai – Houghton Mifflin – 1973

I consider myself lucky that I have known hunger. It was not long but it was a whole afternoon. A Thursday that my dad was getting paid. This means it was either the 2nd or the 4th Thursday of the month. We did things to make things last like cut the juice in half with water and sugar or only eat one slice bread sandwiches with just margarine. Lots of margarine.

That Thursday, we were out of everything. No juice, sugar, bread. There may have been margarine. We also had some rice. It was raw and I had no idea how to cook it. So I just ate it. As is.

My dad would be home any minute but that was about three hours ago and school lunch was six hours ago.

The raw rice tasted chalky and nothing like arroz. I tried a couple more bites but it didn’t get any closer to what I needed to feel full or to get my mind off the clock. So I stopped.

My dad got home some time later with two full bags of groceries and I have no idea what I ate next.

I am grateful to know that feeling. It’s what happens all the time. Just like this poem, I ain’t mad about it.

I just know what’s it like when the check doesn’t hit. I also have a kid inside me that is willing to do something for himself about it.

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