Marley awakens while it's still dark,
her tummy grumbling with hunger.
Her mother who works the night shift
at the diner will not be home until
after Marley and Billy have gone
to school. She finds a little cornmeal
in the bin, mixes it with water, cooks it,
and gives it to Billy who gobbles it up.
She licks the spoon and puts it in the sink.
They do not need to dress. They are
wearing the only clothes they have.
Marley takes Billy's hand, and they walk
to school. Her first class is English,
but she does not hear the teacher.
She only hears the grumbling in her tummy
Elizabeth Howard lives in Crossville, Tennessee. She writes poetry and fiction. Her poems have appeared in Comstock Review, Big Muddy, Appalachian Heritage, Cold Mountain Review, Poem, Still, Mobius, Now & Then, Slant, and other journals.