“Sustenance” by Roy Jacobstein

Roy Jacobstein


They seem a little molecule of calm
in a charged field of gray clicking,
this raggedy couple holding hands

while tossing handfuls of pretzel bits
like ticker tape into converging coveys
on Broadway & 43rd. Doesn’t she know

they have the worst Glycemic Index
of any snack food, even pork rinds?
And he’s as oblivious to the people

breezing by on foot & bike & skate
& the nuclear news looming in neon
overhead as the pigeons to the havoc

those morsels wreak on waistlines.
But they’re content in their self-absorbed
way, & when I pivot

my head I cannot see anybody else
offering the promise of sustenance,
so I waddle over to them, start pecking.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007


Roy Jacobstein: “In addition to writing poetry, I am a physician who works internationally in Africa and Asia on women’s reproductive health.”

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