The Face of Poverty by Karlo Sevilla

I know the face of poverty — literally:

I know hunger in the faces of my people,

here in this Third World, developing country,

or whatever euphemism or (so-called)

politically-correct term they now have

for a land in which most people are mired

in unconscionable and gnawing hunger.

 

I know the face of poverty, regardless

of skin color: invisible, oppressive

hands cupped on the ears pull down

the skull, backward; the facial skin sag against

cheekbones, hollowing the eyes; emaciated

flesh appears close to tearing apart,

the white of the skull teasing to surface.

 

I know the face of poverty; its many apparitions

on sidewalks, overpasses and underpasses,

under bridges and cardboard sheets…

 

And I know it’s not borne of anorexia

or South Beach, Raw Food, or whatever

new fad diet. (It’s No Food on the Table,

or Floor when there is no table.)

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