Two bits of burning, blazing coal
Sweep over heaps of offal wealth,
Consuming all that baser gold,
In a yawning gaze where Hunger dwells.
Eating years, and now in her twelfth,
A girl--a rat?--a vulture-child,
Slave to stealth and fading health,
Rotting apples ate and thus defiled,
What human nature she had left.
Beside her sits a broken doll,
Tied to her spindly, bony fingers,
As if unanchored would devolve.
And about her, putrid perfume lingers,
As a scented sign of her coming fall.
From the sky, in mocking rain,
Pour dregs of wine and liquored relish,
Plates of yester-dinner remains,
Noodles in oodles and half-eaten fish,
And the girl below a meal attains.
She grasps her food in a bone-grown bowl,
Imprisons her life in her hand-walled cage,
That one mouthful can free her soul,
If she opened her fingers, a lifetime she'll age,
--if she let it slip through her bone-grown bowl.
But Hunger decides, not her, not Him,
And she holds on tighter to her bite,
Raises to her lips and her hunger dims,
One more day she's eaten, one more night,
She'll live till it rains again: wine on a whim.