Poems

JOHN PAUL MARTINEZ
I Am Not as Hungry as Nature, I Am Not as Hungry as

I am not as hungry as nature, I am not as hungry as
    how a river feeds and feeds another, how a waterfall feeds
    itself into oblivion. My body wills itself on atomic crumbs,
    items microscopically shattered, digesting just enough
    to weigh one step more. I am not as hungry as this

because my body is efficient: to fill the spaces between my teeth,
    I spill an ocean of poppy seeds into my calling mouth
    so that when I am as hungry as, and my mouth waters,
    a whole garden blooms down my throat, roots for months
    and sustains. You’ll never know hunger as it knows you,

as a lover knows the shoulders of their lover, as a feedback loop knows
    what it likes. It’s no use gorging yourself on bananas or mangoes
    or bell peppers—any golden thing will do. Something with seeds.
    Fluently continual, restarting without thought. Let supermarkets
    become your playgrounds. A place where you can learn how to eat.

When I am as hungry as nature, as hungry as nature
    allows, I will soup shipping yards of mung beans
    to hide in my jowls, retrieving them when my hunger
    desires, which is not as often as I’d like to say it does,
    which is not to say I’d rather eat nothing at all

John Paul Martinez is a Filipino Canadian poet writing out of the Midwest. He was a finalist for the 2019 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and 1/2 K Prize, 2019 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, and 2018 Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest. His work is forthcoming or appears in The MarginsNashville ReviewRedividerWillow Springs, and elsewhere. He holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and currently serves as a poetry reader for BOAAT Journal and SLICE Magazine.