The eating is like make-believe, a game
of imitation—sawdust pressed between
two hands becomes a pancake; soup pots steam
with buttons, leather. Call your mother’s name,
and she will search for food for you the same
as every other parent. Hallways teem
with children. Turning as if in a stream,
they rise together, speak together, claim
in unison that love will never save
them. Love alone, the river answers back,
the river from a dream, two dreams, two halves,
the mother/father, daughter/son, the track
that runs from mouth to stomach. Eat. Just eat,
your mother says, as if the word were fact.
Jonathan Fink is an associate professor and the director of creative writing at the University of West Florida. Dzanc Books recently published his poetry book, The Crossing, and he has also received the Editors’ Prize in Poetry from The Missouri Review; the McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Nonfiction, Essay, from the Southwest Review; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and Emory University, among other institutions.