To Be Fed – a poem by Brian Palmer

To Be Fed

I saw him in the grocery line lay down 
a can of beans, a loaf of bread, some milk.
I paid his bill, a total of two dollars.

And now we walk apart in winter twilight,
my dog with me and he alone, our food 
in knapsacks—mine, full, yet feels hollow still.

I should have given him my pears, imagining
how round and sweet they would have tasted
in his cardboard lean-to near the river.

I walk past geese out gleaning tattered cornfields. 
Measured, ordered, land is parceled, owned.
In their migrations, “in” and “out” are moot; 

the remnant fields for them are for surcease, 
for the gathering of some meager sustenance,
since they, as do the multitudes, must eat.

In the falling dark and cold their barking builds,
and then they lift, the pull itself ineffable
inside a wild cacophony of calls.

I stop. My dog continues down the road.
As snow begins to fall, I stand and listen
to them fade into the feathery gray.

I turn for home but feel a gnawing hunger 
to be desperate in the landscape, too, half- 
alive, in search of scattered seeds, of rising 

high enough to get my bearings, somewhere,  
seeing far below those men—me, him—
the geese, the dog, all looking for a place

to rest our wings and heads and hearts, to eat
our cache of bitter food, to deem ourselves 
as beautiful. And finally, to be fed.

Brian Palmer is intrigued with and often writes about the vital and undeniable intersections of our physical, mental, and spiritual lives. His poetry has appeared in various journals including Expansive Poetry Online, BristleconeThe Society of Classical Poets, and The Lyric.

1 Comment

  1. Meelosmom says:

    This poem is so beautifully crafted and impactful.


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