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Poor Man’s Snack

A poem to reminisce over a snack that heals my inner child

By Summer RobinsonPublished 3 months ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read
Runner-Up in Snacktime Sonata Challenge

My mom always called it the poor man’s snack–

Buttered toast with cinnamon sugar

Simple to most, but a luxury the poor man knows

 

My mom had to give me the heel of the bread

Her cigarette sits in the ashtray, the smoke dances in the air

A nice doctor gave me a teddy bear to hold if I’m ever scared she’ll lie with the dead

It’s the end of the month and the pantry is quite bare

She’s scribbling down numbers, and I sense she feels dread

 

I’m doing homework at the kitchen table, and mom’s making me a snack–

Buttered toast with cinnamon sugar

Simple to most, but a luxury my mother knows

 

Country Crock isn’t even real butter

I’m surrounded by nicotine-stained walls

She’s scared of the prognosis, but the doctor has to cut her

Our cat, she naps in the sunlit halls

I hear the words to my dad: “Will we ever be out of the gutter?”

 

I’m at a friend’s after school, and her dad’s grabbing us a snack–

It isn’t buttered toast with cinnamon sugar

Simple to most, but a luxury my friend does not seem to know

 

He hands me a bag of chips from one of those variety packs

I know better than to ask for these again at the grocery store

Mom would get mad at me, and I know that for fact

With cheese-coated fingers, do I dare ask for more

I wonder if anyone would notice if I ever left home with a knapsack

It’s almost time for bed, and mom asks if I’d want to share a snack—

Buttered toast with cinnamon sugar

Simple to most, but a “luxury” I don’t want to know

 

She’s really sick again, and she doesn’t have much of an appetite

My honesty about her current state shouldn’t have been met with such a gaze

Who knew telling your loved one to go to the hospital would provoke such a fight

They gave her an expiration of seven minutes to seven days

The doctor’s news proven to be a blight

 

I haven’t eaten in days, but I really should have a snack—

Buttered toast with cinnamon sugar

Simple to most, but a luxury my mother no longer knows

 

This kitchen is empty of her presence

My hand trembles holding the butter knife

God, if you’re listening, I’d like to file a grievance

How selfish did you have to be to take her life

Maybe I’ll change my snack of choice to antidepressants

 

It’s been over a decade, but to this day, it’s my go-to snack—

Buttered toast with cinnamon sugar

Simple to most, but a luxury my inner child knows

 

The toast is both buttery and sweet

You see, when I was younger, I dissed her

But after all, bread and butter are some of my favorites to eat

Now I’m 28 and I miss her

When my time comes, over the “poor man’s snack” we’ll meet

sad poetryFamilyElegy

About the Creator

Summer Robinson

"I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle–something heroic, or wonderful–that won't be forgotten after I'm dead." –Jo March, Little Women

Bold, outspoken, and loyal all in one–I aspire to be a modern day Jo March.

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (4)

  • Joe O’Connor2 months ago

    Brilliantly crafted Summer, and powerful too. I like how the refrain of toast changes in every verse, and also how something so simple can mean so much 👏

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Good work

  • ema2 months ago

    This is wonderful and touching, you make me cry, very well written ❤

Summer RobinsonWritten by Summer Robinson

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