What Hunger Costs. a poem by Susan Glickman

Susan Glickman

What Hunger Costs


All every creature wants is to survive
virus or human, bat or pangolin -
though in this case we may resent its drive
life’s just cells mutating from within.
That’s why we like to pillage habitats
not ours, arboreal or aquatic,
looking for stuff to use. We don’t care that
the earth is damaged or that it makes us sick, 
or not enough to stop; we are the best
at consuming every resource in our path.
Ominivores? No, we’re omnivoracious,
our exponential growth a lethal math.
This is humanity’s original sin:
We don’t respect the world we’re living in.


We don’t respect the world we’re living in
our dream of Eden safely in the past
or featured in a gardening magazine,
a project to accomplish at long last.
Buying the right equipment and some plans
persuades us that we’re doing rather well
reviving our own private piece of land -
it’s all about the individual.
The Enlightenment wasn’t so enlightened
when it came to imagining a future
of mutual trust. We’re still so frightened
of being overlooked or having fewer
possessions, no matter what they’re worth; 
no matter how we scar the patient earth.


No matter how we scar the patient earth
we excuse our greed and nurse our vanity
trained to be oblivious from birth 
a grand collective kind of insanity
that keeps us wanting stuff that no one needs
and needing all the things we really want:
clean air, clean water, a future guaranteed
for our children. A green renaissance.
Time’s running out; Covid put it on pause
which may, perhaps, save more lives than are lost
if we can see that we are the true cause
of this disease. It’s what our hunger costs.
Embrace the silence. Listen to your heart.
This pain directs us where we have to start.

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Susan Glickman grew up in Montreal and lives in Toronto where she works as a freelance editor and is learning to paint. She is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently What We Carry (2019), four novels for adults, including The Tale-Teller (2012), a trilogy of middle-grade chapter books, a work of literary history, and a selection of essays, Artful Flight (2022).


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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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