Maggie Jochild

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Mary Jo Atkins (Maggie's mother) age five, Stoneburg, Texas, 1932

Online Poetry

Holding Bread

So Much the Stronger

Sara's Fruit


21 MAY 1979


Filling up on bread,
leaned against our deep old sink so
as to not be tempted
by the meal she'd just dished out
enough for us, not her
Talking to us around the fridge
so we could still call it a family meal
There are worse things than
watching your children go hungry
Worse than watching after
having grown up hungry
Worse than the anger of your oldest
because all he can stand to feel is deprived
Worse than the silent daughter
who swallows shame with every bite
you are not taking
Worse than teaching the baby
to not accept meals from the neighbors
Better to go without
than to settle for a public slot at the bottom
Worst of all
is to die with the bread all eaten,
last crumbs pressed up by moistened fingertips,
no new loaf on the way.
Generations of you.
I bake for your graveside altars
but I take the first slice for myself.

Maggie Jochild

24 February 2001, Waco, Texas


2003 Maggie Jochild