Sherrie Fernandez-Williams

Hunger or Things Yo’ Mama Might Say during this-here Pandemic if She were Alive Today

I been tryna to get you to understand somethin’–
Happiness isn’t just handed to most of us. That shit takes work.

Those who are most hungry ain’t the ones starvin’
but those who are overfed, who stand too long with the

refrigerator door open tryna decide which piece of
fruit out of multitude of fruits available to you in this

very moment, will be the fruit to satisfy your phantom hunger
Then, you see the salsa and remember the tortilla chips in the pantry

You wait for it to whisper in your ear–
Yes. You want me. You know you want me.

But you don’t really want that either. And, you think what
you really need is a new job because the one you have

allows you to buy food you ain’t got the appetite for, but does not
allow you to drive the car of your dreams. This car you want ain’t got name.

It don’t need a name. It just needs to be new–newer, as you like to say.
You want a new car, not because the car you drive doesn’t

function perfectly fine, or is unsafe. The car you drive doesn’t have
that special feature–that automated parallel parking feature.

But you don’t really need a car with automated
parallel parking because when was the last time you had

to parallel park?–Well, there was yesterday–
But before yesterday, when was the last time?

In these past two years of Corona, how many times have you
had to parallel park? I bet you can count on one hand.

Or, maybe two hands ‘cause you had those appointments
at the chiropractor who didn’t have a parking lot and you were

mad you had to find a spot on the street and you
ended up parking further away than your back could stand.

Your back was aching like a mo’ fo. You later realize
you made it worse tryna do office work from the recliner in your living room.

Like the recliner was gonna save you. Make you love your job.
Only thing it did was wreck your body and take your money

with those appointments that did not help you one bit.
You tryna be so comfortable you hurt yo’ own self

The last thing you need is a new car, or a new anything.
You didn’t even need the new coat you just bought ‘cause you

you were bored with the perfectly fine coat you already have.
You said you wanted a bright color to brighten up your winter

As if something you wear on the outside can change everythin’ happenin’ on the inside–
Just put it on and voila! Your life doesn’t suck anymore

And, anyway, your life doesn’t suck at all, chile. You just trifling.
–No. No. That was too harsh. You can be so sensitive sometimes.

Let’s just say, you would be less trifling if you finally got it through your head
that your happiness can’t be delivered to your doorstep.

I don’t know why you tryna be happy so much for anyhow. Where is that s’pose to get you?
Try bein’ grateful’ instead for once. Then, you might start to see this whole mess turn around.

Sherrie Fernandez-Williams, author of Soft: A Memoir is a 2021-2023 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow and writer of essays, stories, and poems. She has work published in New Limestone Review, Aquifer: The Florida Review, and the minnesota review, among others.