Ann Keiffer

Hungry for Poems

Friend, you know what I hunger for.

Sometimes I forget my own nature and,

distracted by the mundane, begin to

waste away, a poet starved for poems,

knowing my own needs so little well I settle

for empty calories, for tastelessness, for

tabloid fare and the griminess of newsprint.


You, on the other hand, seem to know

something about my hunger that I don’t.

And one day, quite out of the blue, you

give me a copy of Jane Kenyon’s Otherwise,

choosing this feast from the largess of your

larder, the well-stocked pantry of your life.


Faint, disoriented in my starvation, I hold

the book limply in my hands and wander

away, dazed, uncomprehending, until I

collapse, and the book falls open before me.


I sniff the pages. I take a bite. I did not realize

how hungry I was until the first taste of poems

passes my lips and floods my bloodstream. But

oh how I gobble the poems then! Ravenous for

their sensuous images, I roll, I loll these poems

on my tongue like chocolate ice cream. I gorge my too-often-neglected desire for the sweet—observed—images of ordinary life. I savor the richness of poem-moments that cling to the roof of my mouth like spoonsful of peanut butter, stick to my ribs like mom’s chili, put meat on the bones of my life, plaster up the hollows of my empty places.


Thank God there is no one here to watch.

I am shameless, scouring the plate,

licking my fingertips

to dab up the last crumbs.                                        


Afterwards, I say grace.       

And write a poem.    



Ann L. Keiffer



About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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