Sometimes starving people begin to eat dirt

Sometimes starving people grow to love eating dirt
Sometimes people who are not starving also wish
to eat dirt and they do and feel selfish
because they are not starving and pick out
the zucchini in their salads and love to eat dirt

And one day all the dirt eaters
are on their backs and decide to leave earth
But the dirt is so kind to their backs
when they sweat
and the air is so kind to their fronts
when they cry

and the hands on the breasts
say don’t you think there might be life
somewhere else?
And the bodies say nothing
and hope nothing and the bile rising
in the throats does not come up high
enough and the hands on the breasts
never rest over the nipples
because they are scabbed over and hard
like pond scum.

The wrong year the breast hands went to thighs
and said don’t you think there’s life in this galaxy,
or the next one?
And all the dirt eaten by the dirt eaters softened
and slumped below the thighs getting heavy
on the thigh hands thinking and panicking
and wishing to be the only one who knew
about space

Josie Levin

Josie Levin is a visual artist and writer whose work has appeared in several publications, including Kitchen Table Quarterly, Unstamatic Literary Magazine, and Witness.
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