Michelle Manunga

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County

Solution Areas:

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Homeless Camp at the Beach’s Super Target 
(My car nurses my warmed hands with its cold breath, I am refreshing myself, locking my doors, and looking out the windows in peace. A mother and child are holding onto each other, transferring strength through sweating palms.) 
I hear the sounds of a million heated droughts. 
A child-burdened mother’s throat is 
tight, taut, scratched, wrung out/ 
dry for any blood that 
sleeps in the curves 
of her daughter’s bruised tongue. 
I hear the dirt mudding itself to the child’s lower lashes. 
Bedsheets strangled her thinning waist, clothing her; she, and her mother 
stood, melting pavement ate ingrown toenails. 
The pair are vanishing from my sight, 
still, 
silent, slowly simmering/ 
boiling up in their weakening stomachs, 
flushing the nearly forgotten, weeks old apple cores 
out into sand fields— 
out into empty hands no longer 
holding kindness, passing lonely coins. 
I hear the mother’s, the child’s 
hungry guts wetting the droughts; 
skin on skin on thin blankets on itching concrete, 
harboring the wilting fine-boned bodies 
aching for milk.