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The Hunger Winter


ISSUE:  Summer 1998
The first time you eat bread
after not tasting it for a long time,
do not be ashamed if you cry.
I am not speaking of the fast
from night to morning,
but rather the lack
from November to March—
a winter without the good weight of bread
in your stomach.
Cabbage alone begs the body
for company—a dumpling
on which the weepy leaves can rest.
If, after such a winter,
an old roll comes your way,
you will not bring it whole to your mouth:
you will break it, very slowly,
in very small pieces.
This, so as you eat,
you may regard what remains

in your hand—a roll
that, in bits, gives itself to you.
And each piece, slowly taken—
the meal, a multitude of kisses.
A union. A reunion.
Though very brief:
as your fingers lift,
then fall from your lips,
so, too, to the bread,
you bid farewell.

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