Pennies a Day

posted Apr 3, 2012

Estrella was a photograph from Honduras
Rather Estrella was a girl from Honduras
Estrella was not her name
Her name is not remembered

Estrella was twelve I was fifteen
I slept on the floor Estrella slept on dirt
I thought we were poor I thought
there was nothing to eat
my mother would find a can of green beans
and say you’re wrong

For twenty one dollars a month I kept Estrella alive
it was an awful lot of responsibility

My mother said money was too tight
when she’d say this I pictured
the skin pulled over Estrella’s distended belly

Starvation leads to apathy
the counselor said when lecturing us
about eating disorders
Your body begins to consume itself

I pictured her stomach deflating
sucking in on itself like a black hole

there went the eye-stars
there went the heart-nova

Shevaun Brannigan is an MFA candidate at Bennington College. She has had poems previously appear in Rattle, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Calyx, among other journals, and has poems forthcoming in Lumina, So to Speak, and Avatar Review.

Brannigan’s poem “Artifacts” also appears in this issue.