The End of Poverty

by Pamela Davenport

for Beulah Catherine Davenport

You raise Lucy,
a lamb your family
eats one Sunday.
She greases your hollow
stomach as your brothers
pull flesh off her bones.
You wash dishes
and put them away or don’t
but you leave them wet.
You wear your sisters’ thin
dresses, they cling to your skin
like gauze, like shrouds.
You climb hickory branches,
to avoid pushing, pulling,
hands that would never
hold. You tell no one
anything until you forget it all.
At the end you call
for your long-dead brother,
you remember Lucy.
At the end it all comes back,
what you didn’t know
was missing.

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