Food had doubled in price because of the war (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem based on Panel 11 of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series.

Mama said we had to do without
so our soldiers could stay fed.
I could tell she wasn’t happy about that,
but she didn’t want to disappoint me,
so she tried to keep a light-hearted tone.
But there was something else in her voice;
it scared me a little.

Sometimes, I noticed her sigh
while she cut up those few vegetables
she was able to bring home from the grocery.
Every so often, she would pause
and stare off into the distance,
her expression blank.

Once she saw I was watching,
she’d brush her forehead with the back of her hand,
give another sigh (which she didn’t think I noticed, but I did),
and tell me to go wash up,
supper’ll be ready soon.
‘Yes, mama…’

(7 February 2017)