Somewhere There Is Hunger, Somewhere, Fear ─ a cento All she had to eat was snow glad to be swallowed completely. Onions and grease, lumber and bleach, she opened with no unstoppable weeping. This is followed by ninety beats of silence shimmering in the shock mounding the slender bodies as the sun blazed skin almost transparent, almost familiar. Out ahead, an envoy, blatant and exposed in candlelight, this hermit praying Break me like bread. Take me the gnarled scars, flesh lumped like redwood burl. Death is feeding elsewhere tonight Curses will pour back into mouths. The white flurry of spring sweeps in just as a rust-red shadow slides across the moon leveling the ground again breaking down the blood-clotted and a lone naked root is searching for soil. In the staggering universe you could crack the sky like lightning each moment plump and separate as a raindrop a thousand torch songs crying out, an exaltation of larks drenched in rapture, the angel glistening. Two years of hiding, so calm, so dignified, so just. We don’t speak. We just wait, alive together. What the story doesn’t tell is how to go on, what a swan becomes. All lines borrowed from poems by Ellen Bass.
Nancy Himel spent 30 years teaching high school English in the hood near Los Angeles before she retired in August, 2019. Prairie Schooner published one of her poems in 2007, and now that she is a full-time poet, she is hoping more of her work will be published soon. She lives in Tucson, Arizona where she is working on a memoir-in-verse, tentatively titled From Ruach’s Cradle.