The worn-down woman’s bones creak and ache as she wakes her children before dawn.

“Quietly,” she whispers. “Don’t wake the others.”

Dutifully, the children rise and smooth the linen that served as last night’s blanket.

“Mama, I’m cold,” the youngest one says as the cool, morning air punctures his skinny body.

“Why do we have to do this every morning?” her oldest daughter asks.

“Shush,” their mother says as they reach the end of the line. “Maybe one day we’ll be able to have food again without waiting in line. But not today, and complaining makes it no better."

“Yes, Mama.”