One Poem by Elizabeth Aoki

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Hungry is Where We Start

Being born is hungry work. There’s been all that liquid love
through the veins and it stops, and you must climb and push
walls of red to emerge as yourself, small and yowly, wide-mouthed and ready
for the first nipple of the rest of your life, for the first good thing
to fill an unpracticed belly, for the first hug and vertigo swing
through the air that enters the ravenous lungs, and the whirring patterns
of air on a new eardrum, not knowing that it’s hungry for jazz
or violin or piano tinkling like pain on a hot tin roof, none of that is known
and yet all the skin is asking for it, hairs are raising, fingers clench and unclench
like nubby stubs of incomplete thoughts, holding and gumming your toes—
like toes have the answers, beginning on the ground of flames
walking in the air even while on your back you know you are running
out of time once the clock starts ticking, time so hungry with a mouth that bites.




Elizabeth (Betsy) Aoki completed her MFA at the University of Washington. Since then, she has received fellowships from the City of Seattle, Jackstraw Writers Program, and Artist Trust and her work has been anthologized in Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves: A Contemporary Anthology of Asian American Women’s Poetry and Fire on Her Tongue: an eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry. Her chapbook Every Vanish Leaves Its Trace was published in 2009 by Finishing Line Press.

Photo by decrand, courtesy Pixabay.

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