For us it was the starving Armenians.
For Claire the Chinese children.
Rose ate on behalf of hungry Biafrans.
And my younger friends say that
Children from Darfur would eat
Their spurned rissoles.
Filling our stomachs would appease the starving
As if by magic. Please our mothers, reluctant cooks.
A smear of unwanted food showed disrespect,
Was a waste, and a lot besides. The way to grow
Into adults was finishing ‘what’s on your plate’
And being grateful you had a full one.
Tony believes something should remain for the Big Other
But even now the spectre of the Armenian child
Hovers by my plate: should I leave something for her
(But how will she fetch it?)
Or should I lick my plate clean, leave nothing,
(And then what would she eat?)