Like roaches fighting over baited trap
we climbed and clambered, even pushed and shoved
while scrambling for some nourishment like love
we’d push the other children off Mom’s lap.
So certain of the limits of the feast –
a pie too small for each to have a slice –
our blood stopped flowing warm and turned to ice
and those who would not fight received the least.

Each hatchling with its gaping beak
proclaimed its need was greatest in the nest
and each of us, competing with the rest,
lived in the constant fear of seeming weak.
Yet those who won regretted they had tried.
They gobbled up the poison – and they died.

 

 

Catherine Wald’s chapbook, Distant, burned-out stars, was published in June 2011 (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry was awarded Honorable Mention in Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute’s 2011 Gurfein Fellowship Competition and she was received a fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts Mark 2012. Catherine has published poems in American Journal of Nursing, Chronogram, Friends Journal and Westchester Review and is author of The Resilient Writer (Persea 2004) and a translation of fiction from the French. Articles have appeared in Journal of Creative Nonfiction, Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest.


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