Food Pantry

In the gray morning,
the ragged line forms outside the door.
People wait while rain
runs off their shoulders and shoes.
Inside, volunteers count cans of tuna
and loaves of bread.
There are bags of rice,
peanut butter and jars of jam –
food and hope, doled out in three-day parcels –
the best we can do even while we know
it’s not enough.
Still, we listen to funny/sad stories,
ask about children or parents,
and carry bags to cars
that are sometimes also homes.

When, finally, we have nothing left to give,
we close the door, and
surrounded by empty shelves,
realize again how lucky we are,
living so close to asking
if we can please have
one more box of cereal.

About the Author

Paul Bluestein is a physician (done practicing), a blues guitar player (still practicing) and a dedicated Scrabble player (yes, ZAX is a word). He currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and the two dogs who rescued him. Nearby, there is a beach where he can let his mind off the leash to go where it wants. He is grateful that, thus far, it has always come back, sometimes with an interesting idea in its jaws.

Although he has written poetry for many years, he did not submit any of his work for publication until last year. Since then, he’s been fortunate to have had more than 40 poems accepted for publication.