Thoughts about Hunger on a Morning Walk
All life is like that
a pursuit to satiate hunger
hunger for love hunger for food hunger for
… and in pursuing it
not beauty but violence
which eats that hunger
as the ants in the cleave of sink
the wasps boring out of the hole in the ground
the dog whining for the company
of some mammal nearby
the squirrel carrying half a bagel
across the lawn and in a flash
in pursuit of another catch
more life in which to pursue
the lady in nightshorts
watering the lamppost and the curved brick edging
while the grass beneath her slippers
this is the way we trick ourselves
decorating the hunger with potted plants and plastic figurines
my text to my son 200 miles away
have a good day I love you
which is not a real greeting but the hunger to lift him again
in my arms as he once was
even my mother at 97 still feeding me
her hunger, her worry, her thirst
her arms nearly breakable in sleep
joints no longer connecting
elbow knees and toes
parrying, contemplating—these are just fillers
like so much refuse on the shore line of a city beach
evidence that we lived, broke open a beer,
relished a drumstick or an apple—cores and bones
reminding us of hunger
now at the kitchen sink the miniscule ants march
ferociously into the sprayed Raid
as if each still in life, still in pursuit
Passing the Baby '
If he were yours I know you’d
fly him through the air.
Your arms still remember, but you
pull him toward your chest
let his feet dangle near your waist.
Big eyes in his round face focus on
your finger dancing, bending.
He watches your forehead
as you arch your eyebrows for him.
Now your arms straighten
to pass him back to me.
I clutch beneath his tiny armpits
nearly feel his torso warm, expanding,
and now I see you watching me
who’s too afraid to hold him close or long--
fast as our kids grown and gone
I slice him through the air
return him to his mother’s arms.
Pantoum for 4th Grade(for T.S)
You were that still girl in the room
arms rare twigs reaching out
as though the rest of you’d been consumed
by fire or water. Your eyes focused, sharp.
Your arms rare twigs barely reaching out
you seemed to be calling me to you
by fire or water. Your eyes focused and sharp,
as if our friendship had always been in view.
You seemed to call me to you
wrapped my feelings in your dark wool sweater
as if our friendship had always been in view
and recess no longer torture.
We wrapped our feelings in woolen sweaters,
everything we did so awkward teachers feared us.
At recess, no longer torture,
we spoke our secret language. No one owned us.
Everything we did so awkward teachers feared us
thought we knew we’d crack on contact.
Speaking our secret language, no one owned us.
We gathered weeds and flowers from the concrete.
Some days we thought we’d crack on contact
as though the rest of us had been consumed.
We’d gather weeds and flowers from the concrete.
You were that still girl in the room.
About the Author: Julia Lisella is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Always and Terrain (WordTech Editions) and the chapbook, Love Song Hiroshima (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Antiphon, Ocean State Review, Literary Mama, Salamander, and many others. Julia is Associate Professor of English at Regis College.