Lebanese Famine in America

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Strange to think of home when my stomach begs,
though the belt garroting my waist,
knife-notched to wear tighter,
was meant to quiet it.

Especially here where
the uniform light posts march
down Chicago’s streets—
it’s not Mount Lebanon’s famine

picking all those people to bones,
the photos I’ve seen in books,
how hunger plucks the body
to rib-slats, serrated masts,
hips like empty bowls.

My hunger is dust

or a stray bullet in glass,
the snowflake blown there.
My breath palls but that
is not like hunger
—brief, lifting.

I push a mop to pay rent,
steal mustard packets
to dress bread slices,
and tell myself it’s enough
it’s enough it’s enough.

 

Photo by Steven Barringer

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About Author

Ruth Awad has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Republic, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, Crab Orchard Review, CALYX, Diode, Southern Indiana Review, Rattle, The Adroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, Epiphany, The Drunken Boat, and in the anthologies The Hundred Years' War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest, and she was a finalist for the 2013 Ruth Lily Fellowship. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two Pomeranians.

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