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52| Free Market

Elizabeth Thompson

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Clustered quietly, my little
Sister and I, rag dolls with nappy and
Unhappy roots, budding into women
Waiting in line, marked for invisible ease
FOOD STAMPS
Only
Bent over with coupons
And government-sanctioned cheese
I begin to wheeze, gently collecting
Stares of full-bellied disapproval
Blue bills bleeding through worthless
Books
Pouring from those black hands
My pride, in denominations of fives, tens
And when
Mama tucks me in under twinkling skies
Prayers said, blessed because
We Exist
And what’s to be missed . . .
Our bellies, too, will be full, someday.

Elizabeth Thompson received her M.A. in English Literature, with distinction, from George Washington University, where her research reflected on post-colonial liminal subjectivity and feminist geographies. She is the development communications manager for Institutional Advancement at Hood College in Frederick, MD. Born in Baton Rouge, Elizabeth's poetry borrows from rural aesthetics to examine urban political landscapes for queer women of color. She also enjoys cooking, and co-owns a small locally-sourced catering business, La Eats, with her husband. When she performs spoken word, Elizabeth's artist name is Ah-vek Mwa, a nod to her French Creole and West African roots.

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