Monday, July 2, 2012

Tuesday Poem: previously published in Poetpourri in 1992

The Hunger Angels

first came to her when they were fighting.
Their whispers made her feel 
like she’d put her ear to a seashell.
They told her her father swallowed his anger.
They danced like little fireflies around him,
swirled inside his undertow of loneliness,
swam in his beer, made fun of the white heron
poses, he learned as a boy, in a kitchen
where there was never enough to eat.

She watched them hover like hummingbirds
as they buzzed her mother's fork,
oozed out of her sandwiches, as she took her 
giant bites. When Mommy sat quiet, they gathered 
in her hair, stirring up the racket of memory,
with its abuses, desertions, hard work that made her
disappear into cooking pots, and gourmet magazines.

The little girl watched the two of them
tangle with one another in despair.
The angels multiplied then, their faces
becoming her parents' faces in miniature.

Put us in your hope chest, they said
when she was eight years old.
Someday you'll open it,
and we'll have grown like dumplings,
or steamy loaves of bread.

No head of a pin for us, babe.
We’ll keep you fidgety company.
Just  fire up those cravings.

In her innocence she welcomed them,
glad to be included, not knowing
how else the story might have gone.


Helen Lowe said...

There is so much story in this poem, and a great deal of what NZ poet Glenn Colquhoun would call "the ache" -- we feel it.

Michelle Elvy said...

Wow I love this, from the title to the last quiet line. Really dense with images and feeling. Will come back to this one, thanks for sharing it.