Hunger – Dawn Levitt

Dawn Levitt

Hunger grows like an animal inside my belly.
Recalling my time in pregnancy,
how hunger visited me daily,
setting alarm bells in my stomach.

Then, I could have eaten non-stop,
but food was not available to me.
Too poor to eat, too poor to live,
too hungry and weak to carry a child.

Now, food is abundant, but I cannot eat.
My throat is paralyzed, speechless.
Feeding tube slowly trickles gruel
into my empty gut.

After twelve days of hunger, I don’t feel it anymore.
My stomach is numb, vacant, detached.
Now I only know thirst in my throat.
At night I dream of succulent fruits.

Forty-eight pounds wasted from my bones.
Hair falling out in clumps.
Malnutrition stalks me like a Holocaust refugee.
My bones a frame to stretch the canvas of my skin.

At the first look in a mirror, I sob.
Jutting hip bones, a ladder of ribs,
and my breasts, two empty sacks
that used to hold my greatest treasure.