Food Stamps By Shirley Jones-Luke

Food Stamps


The mailman always runs
late on Saturdays,
my brother and I stare out
the living room window
with growling stomachs,
ma was in the kitchen banging
pots and pans, singing a hymn,
we don’t know the words


Poverty is a vice, we struggle
Not to be choked on its
expectations of us, a repeated
cycle, ma always told us
education was the way out,
“Do better than me.”, she would
say, I had all A’s on my report card,
my brother could spell his name


The mailman arrives like Apollo
pulling the sun across the sky. I swear
the house grew brighter, our stomachs
stopped growling and the birds chirped
in the gnarled trees, we would eat
today and every day for at least a month
before ma would start singing hymns again

By Shirley Jones-Luke


Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and a writer. Ms. Luke lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has an MFA from Emerson College. Her work merges poetry with memoir. Shirley has been published in Adanna, Adelaide and Deluge.

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