One morning after begging for my food—
looking down at one more meal
I hadn’t worked for,
hadn’t paid for,
A life of debts I could never repay
pushing in on all sides
like the weight of the sea.
Would it always feel like this?
Just as the moon rises up
from the bottom of the sea,
a handful of rice lifted
itself from the bottom of my bowl.
And my heart rose with it.
I wish I could tell you how it tasted—
that first bite of food
as a free woman.
From The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns by Matty Weingast © 2020 by Matty Weingast. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. shambhala.com
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