we are starving for health
in a land of plenty

feeding us french fries
and big macs

gorged to the point of sickness
on too much of the wrong thing

how do you rationalize 9-year-olds
already shopping plus sizes

and how do you balance
nutritional inequity

how other mothers
watch their childrens’ bellies swell

with starvation, as their bodies
digest themselves in desperation

yes, hunger kills
and but for grace

or an accident of birth
I am here

where our children’s bodies
bloat with gluttony

on what balance sheet
does this even out

and how can we fix this?

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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23 Responses to plates

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    That is the question worth a sum of money that has no total. The plenty is a question I find morbidly interesting. And in fact, that’s what that shipwrecked post was about. I dunno how to answer, but I do figure that if we don’t ask the questions, we won’t try. So here’s to you asking Susan.

  2. davidtrudel says:

    I love the great opening image; “starving for health in a land of plenty”. The accepted, mainstream north american diet is unhealthy and is resulting in chronic obesity. A raw food/vegan lifestyle is much better.

  3. Only a soul with a deep sense of empathy could have crafted this! Portions of your poem remind me of Chinua Achebe”s poem _ Refugee mother and child

  4. nelle says:

    There are certain things in this world I dislike, and this is one, something that… Should.Not.Be.

  5. you paint a stark truth & ask a powerful question with a deft hand. masterfully written, Susan

  6. Green Speck says:

    This can never get balanced in any balance sheet … awareness is needed … well drafted piece !!!

  7. Leo says:

    “as their bodies digest themselves in desperation” such a sad telling line and can, it seems to me, be applied to the overweight as well as the starving. I’ll sit and watch people out in public (yes, I’m one of those old men) and it seems at least 75% of those who walk pass are overweight and it is the saddest when they are kids; disregarding the health issues, we all know how the overweight kids are treated. Sad. Leo

    • Yes–they are both in here, and the gross imbalance of resources is saddening and sickening. I do maintain that starvation kills faster, but they both kill, which is why both are in this poem. I wrote this this summer, after watching “Supersize Me” in the same day I read a poem of Noel’s about children starving to death. I left it in drafts forever, not sure if it was too emotional a reaction. Decided, finally, to just let it go as is.

  8. doncarroll says:

    good one. if you have an unhealthy population the medical community can make more money…hahaha.

  9. The ultimate irony, Susan, and so piercing.

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