Michael Schmeltzer
Michael Schmeltzer
        
Famine is the Name of the Beloved Departed


A bowl of dust spoke, mimicking your voice.
And so I walk with your taste like chalk on my tongue.

Hunger profanes the stomach, and someone starving
invokes the name of god,

those syllables preserved in heaven
for holy men in desperate times. I believe nothing

happened, and nothing happens for all eternity.
This, too, a form of famine.

Longing is a universal language. Others: faith, appetite,
and all their pseudonyms.

Name anything harvested in a hundred days
that cannot be undone in one? This is wisdom

you will not understand until you grieve
the crops lost to the locusts, the swarm

descending from the heavens like rain
and rapidly ascending so unlike rain.