Between Meals

I am hungry, and there is nothing

here to satisfy more than my stomach between eight

and three but a peanut butter and jelly pressed

in the journey between the now and the maybe.

Watch the clock in classroom after classroom

I sneak a nibble here, a bite there, granola crumbles

in my bag, notes become sticky with the memory

of a desk of my own, drawers, time spent sitting

alone in an empty library, pictures

on the wall. A lock.

I follow a running child who glares behind her shoulder

meanwhile a town away my son falls asleep

in his ham sandwich, begging for someone to

wake him up. My time would be better spent

rubbing his shoulders, cutting his bread

into dinosaur shapes while telling him

the world is not his fault. My heart is riven

between the paycheck that buys the meat

and the children, empty of something else.

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