WILD Third Place: FORAGING by JoAnn Hoffman

 FORAGING by JoAnn Hoffman

Inspired by Searching for Breakfast by Elfreda Shragan
Inspired by Searching for Breakfast by Elfreda Shragan


That pelican, you say,

     watch him. I do

     watch him, his easy-going glide across

               gray water, scanning, scanning

for the glint of silver, the hint of movement below,

signal to his razor-sharp eyes that Now!

               now is the time to dive & this,

               this is the place to find

               riches in the sea.



At lunchtime, you say,

There’s that woodpecker again,

      hear him? I do

     hear him, the fury of his jabs against

               thick pine bark, drilling, chucking

a brown hail of wood chips to the ground below.

He hears clever fellow! the plump white larvae

               squirming in the bole,

               and he is driven, driven

               to pierce the heart of the tree.



We are like them, I tell you later

in the grocery store. Like that lady, there –

               picking the pinker fish beneath

               the layers, reaching for the boxes behind,

sniffing, thumping, hefting the melons. You see?

We are all scavengers, like chickens scrabbling

               the dirt. All of us, hungry! Always

               scanning, digging, diving – starving

               for the riches we find

               below the surface.