What we know about poverty

This was written for the poem spark of last week: the Political Poem.

What we know about poverty

On the street
the mouth of the world
asks: whose mother is this?
Whose baited hook tore
the smile from her cold cheek?
Crows fly above the invisible
hands of the sidewalk (cracked
in mourning). The country’s lips
are pursed. The difficult breaths
of the people blow like scattered leaves.
There are tears. Missing books and no water.
The burden of so many locked doors keeps
the tongues still. The skill of learning has been taken,
removed, amputated until there is no belonging in this place,
no where to rest but in the cramped shoulders of the buildings.
No one claims the mother’s body. No one staunches the blood
though the crows keep flying like madmen in the sunken cheeks
of the sky.

© 2006 Christine Klocek-Lim