Thanksgiving eve, we brought a bag of items to our local food pantry. A volunteer was there late to accept last-minute donations, like ours, that will fill winter holiday dinner packages pantry clients will receive. I kept thinking about how this volunteer was still working when most of us were deep into preparing for our own celebrations the next day. I wrote this nonce form poem for her, to say thanks:
she has the heart of a soup kitchen
Her hands are canned spaghetti,
corn niblets her golden smile.
She kneels on pancake-syrup knees,
dreams of sweet, tender peas,
herbed seasoned stuffing, pineapple rings.
Her spirit is a warehouse.
Pass her on the street
and meet sliced beets, applesauce,
instant oatmeal, corned beef hash,
chunk light tuna, peanut butter,
blue boxed macaroni and cheese.
Her perfume is strawberry jam.
Discover her packaged with care
within the big, bountiful stash
despite everything she gives away.
Who feeds the hungriest hearts?
Come, we’ll bear fine gifts
of cake mix, evaporated milk,
chocolate, and chicken noodle soup.
Felicia Sanzari Chernesky