Poetry at the Food Bank

Ramen Squared by Patti Ross

This past year, Patti Ross was our first Poet-in-Residence at the Anne Arundel County Food Bank and during her time she created three poems that provide a heartfelt and powerful message of supporting our community members and addressing food insecurity. Each of the poems are featured below. We thank Hiram Larew of Poetry X Hunger for providing the funding to support Patti’s work.


Ramen Squared

The station wagon backs up
slowly to the loading dock
the locks pop.
Two, a boy, a girl pops out
Eager to show their treasure
food they secured from their food drive.

Five bags of crackers – Ritz? no Toll House.
A small box overflowing with cans of
corn, green beans, stewed tomatoes,
baby potatoes, soup of all kinds and Ramen
the square shape kind, just add water.

How much? How much? the kid’s ask
Excitedly beaming in their success.
The Food Bank workers take the bags
holding them gently like an infant,
certain not to drop a thing, no shifting
keeping all contents close to heart.

Slowly each bag is lowered on to the scale
weighing what will become sustenance
for another boy or girl filling them with
food gathered from suburban kitchens.
Fifty pounds of surplus eagerly offered
helping to sustain those without the
station wagon, the soccer shirt,
the dance team skirt.

The food insecure hiding in plain sight,
hurting as cupboards grow sparce,
refrigerators missing meat and milk,
famine replaces feast.
The insufficiency of the hour,
reminding us to feed our neighbors.

How much? How much? Another boy,
another girl asks. Eyeing the cans of
corn, green beans, stewed tomatoes,
baby potatoes, soup of all kinds and Ramen
the square shape kind, just add water,
beaming, cherishing a fork full of noodles.


Hope- bringing food to the table

The net hangs low. The under-resourced forced into insecurity.
Hope- bringing food to the table.

The blessing of food during difficult times reminds us
the 5600 households ballooning
to 34,000 households waiting to hold healthy food.
Freely given like coins in the offering plate.

We must be bold. No more business as usual
this net must hold more. We must be bold.
This net must hold more. This bounty must feed our brothers,
our sisters, our neighbors.

Hope- bringing food to the table.
We give thanks, for the food parceled
on the cold metal tables overseen with care from volunteers.
Staff working with dedication and ingenuity
parsing together remnants of subsidies and food drives.

We give thanks for these hands that carefully
secure the net holding benefactors, partners,
the dumbstruck standing together
to end the anxiety of a groaning stomach.

Hope- brings food to the table. We give thanks.

What If?

What if we were the village that raises babies
What if we had to be sure baby was washed,
baby was held, baby was fed
What if we had to change the baby
What if we had to find baby diapers,
search for the baby’s formula in empty isles
What if we had to forage baby clothes piles?

What if we all had to keep every child alive
What if we had to leave no child behind
What if every child had a bed,
a pillow to lay their head
What if we had to be sure every child was fed
What if we did unto others as we do for ourselves
What if we stocked everyone’s shelves

What if we genuinely loved our neighbors
What if we filled their wells
What if we had to raise the baby and the child
What if we all had to make sure
they both were well
What if everyone helped everyone thrive
What if we ended the socioeconomic divide

What if the baby, the child lived and not just survived?


Patti Ross

About the Poet:

Patti (Spady) Ross graduated from Washington, DC’s Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts, The American University and The Keller Graduate School of Management. As a lifetime learner Patti holds a certificate in Writing for Social Justice from the University of California, Berkeley. She is an orator, poet, poor peoples advocate, feminist warrior her website is: www.littlepisuniverse.wordpress.com