By Melissa Young

It begins as
gentle emptiness,
nudging me toward food
as though I simply forgot
to eat
and it must remind me
of my negligence.

I bat the feeling away,
irritated that it comes
so often,
dreading just a little
its progression
toward hollow gnaw,
sticky thirst,
mild fuzzy weakness.

Each time it comes—
this instinct rooted in clay
I am so little acquainted with—
I think about spirit,
and wonder why,
when mine is withering with want
for living Bread and Water
I do not feel it.

I think of those for whom
my small offering is made—
this token to evince sincerity
on their behalf
and pull some blessing from the sky—
how their escape will not come
with the passing of a few hours
and a meal.

I think how precious and rare
is sacrifice
in a time when ascending smoke,
running blood,
and woolly life left
on the altar
have no place in the clean whiteness
of my worship, and I am
powerless to give.

I think how broken hearts and contrite spirits
require a divine destruction,
and in our fear of shattering,
we thank God
for avoiding the painful breaking
that would bring us to Him.

Yet hunger is always available
to choose—
a standing invitation to become
conscious of fleeting flesh;
to feel for a few hours
(in this numb world)
a single shard that might,
if I allow it,
draw me toward God
and to His table.


About Melissa Young

(Emerita) is a native of Utah and lives in Cache Valley, Utah, with her husband and three of her four children in their emptying nest. She has an MA in TESOL from Brigham Young University and currently volunteers with the English Learning Center.

Leave a Comment