Hungry

by Jenifer DeBellis

Pops said we weren’t white trash
as long as we never moved

into the trailer park. Or owned
a station wagon. Or took handouts.

I stopped giving Mom the reduced
& free lunch forms the school kept

sending home. I knew the drill.
Ain’t nobody’s business

what our income was. Ain’t
nobody’s business. Understand?

No one likes a beggar, but
sometimes I was just too hungry

to care about being liked. You gonna
eat that? Can I have the rest

of that? Wait, don’t throw that out.
I stopped asking after a while since

I only got handouts if I didn’t ask
& sometimes kids still pitched

their food rather than give
it to the likes of me. Some-

times I wasn’t hungry after
track practice, volleyball or cheer

& skipped dinner to see how long
I could go not hungry. Once

I went three days without anyone
noticing. My thoughts cleared

around the edges & I wondered
if I needed to eat at all. Then

I ate something & ate more & more
like I might never get a chance again.

About the Author
Jenifer DeBellis, M.F.A., is author of Blood Sisters (Main Street Rag, Fall 2018). She’s Pink Panther Magazine’s editor and Detroit Writers’ Guild’s director. A former MBWP fellow, she facilitates workshops for Oakland University. DeBellis teaches for Saginaw Valley State University and Macomb Community College. Her work appears in the Good Men Project, Literary Orphans, Solstice Literary Magazine, and other journals.