Hunger Changes Everything

It begins with the sound of Jorge scraping
the bottom of the pot
metal on metal
at six AM.

I don’t need a clock.
By seven, Yolanda’s radio
will play louder than the rain.

From my thin bed, I
listen to him scraping:
the sound of nothing.

Hunger pangs, they say, dull
if you lie on your belly.
I have been sleeping face down for weeks
since the rains began in
earnest, and the buyer of our earthenware
stopped at the dangerous bridge.
It will rain until October.

He scrapes carefully, filling the morning
with echoes of emptiness.
Each grain of rice will be
gone and there will not be one
spoonful left for me.

Who will believe the hot fat
tears that slide around my
nose and onto the bed?
If I say I have wept for a
plate of rice, who will
not politely cough and look away?.

Watch me dry my eyes and pour
thin sweet coffee
from my cup into the hollow space
between these new hipbones.
Watch me look out
at the rain and not at Jorge
chewing.

I will lie on my back tonight
listening to the thunder.
I will be waiting
when Maria lights the cooking fire
in the morning dark.

It begins with the sound of Jorge scraping
the bottom of the pot
metal on metal
at six AM.
A spark ignites the slow-burning panic
of hunger that
changes everything.

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