Food Pantry

By Soo Na Pak


Pack belly full of rotund cannot get in the way
Cannot drown or starve or die or be missed
Cannot be overlooked

Shields against the hunger
There is no
Shield against the hunger

Food pantry, rotting produce
Long lines, old white women holding clipboards
Bored-looking volunteers with
dark hair and judging eyes

A young black child coughs
His mother tells him, “Sit. Don’t move.
Sit next to me. No more running around.”
Two small boys up the driveway,
peering through cement block gaps,
climbing on the concrete terrace
because they can no longer play with
their friend in involuntary timeout.

A phone in his lap.

A white man with a smart phone,
tanned brown skin and black dirt under over on

His jacket a windbreaker zipper still works
Tells you there is more than one food pantry
Tells you to keep coming

Loaves of bread
Room temperature Whole Foods quinoa salad
Frozen 10-pound bags of chicken parts
Paper bag after paper bag loaded into car trunk
The bicycle to your right, your hip pressing against
the frame
Holding you holding it


SOO NA PAK's work appears or is forthcoming at Autostraddle, The Rumpus, The Butter, and

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