Two times a year, we go to the government office, to get what Momma calls food money, bills with colored stamps that she keeps behind the plastic flap in her checkbook. Momma takes a number from a red machine and we wait on hard blue chairs, watch the television in the corner of the room. It plays The Neverending Story, a movie we’re not allowed to see, but we watch anyway, the flying luck dragon, the horse that drowns in a swamp.
When they don’t give us food money anymore, we go to the school down the street for the free milk, cornbread they offer in the summer. We sit on metal benches in the cafeteria, eat, watch the other kids watch us, their clothes dirty, their feet bare. At church, we help serve dinner to the congregation after the service and Momma brings her big purse, sneaks bread rolls, apples inside. Sometimes, when storms come through, service is cancelled, the dinner, too, and Momma gives us big cups of water before bed, tells us to drink, to make our stomachs full.