Peter Davis  © 2005 All Rights Reserved

Famine

1.
I know the beast.
I passed its every exam.
Every ounce, every kernel,
let it shear me whittling
flockless over a sour, pitted earth.
The beast took us whole—
I had no face like my own.
He even swallowed all the water.
No one could see our reflection
save for in the face of others.


I know a man who
argues that famines
are all wrong;
they can’t happen—that it’s all in the head.
 

But history is our grim maker—
ask any ghoul why
women die to be invisible.


Right now, in a barren place
void of crop and feast,
a woman
takes one last breath
before her chest cracks in half.

2.
Between hill and valley
a river is born
because the reflection of rain
promises another,
and another,
and she’ll have
another.

Ellen Elder
Copyright © 2005

 

Ellen Elder received her MA in poetry from Miami University of Ohio, where she received an American Academy of Poet’s Prize, and her BA from The University of Chicago. She spent her summers growing up in Ireland. She is currently a doctoral student in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she was nominated for the Best New American Voices, 2006.


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