by Jennifer Pons

I have a belly that stays hungry–
years of a belly-eating belly—           deep inside

Sometimes the growling reminds passersby
that I am just a woman with as much hunger as a man

Some men eat perpetually
The people cheer                    “Eat, men, eat!”
From curbs and cars   happy men 
shoot guns into the sky—       “Eat, men, eat!”         

Child-women with big bellies            line the streets            
as crowds        of men in the man-garb          walk by happy
as if only men feel hungry

Goodness,       I am hungry all the time
My belly heaves empty
My hands can’t dig roots quick enough

Imagine           hungry women with churning bellies
crouching for locusts  and wondering
how to forgive the men for eating everything in between

It’s a straw house     I think    the men and their full bellies
who refuse to build houses of brick        who carry guns      
and      bomb beds and burn paths

Sadly, women can’t eat straw and live

But some         —in search of brick houses—
eat locusts to protect from sky swarms
of shrapnel      and bullet bits             and men who eat everything


Jennifer Pons is a high school literature and writing teacher in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in Across the Margin, Whale Road Review, EKSTASIS Magazine, Residual Believers, and CutBank Flash Prose and Poetry Online, where she was named a finalist in the Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry. Her manuscript Locusts and Wild Honey was a finalist for the Pamet River Prize 2020. 

Image: David Clode