Poems

Prayer Before Taking Nourishment

You, who created me with two hands and one fork,
with one spoon and one mouth,
with two chopsticks and bright tangle of noodles,
grant me the skill to separate meat from bone,
you, who have taught me to harden my stomach
to stone, to weep only onion tears,
to wear as perfume cardamom and dill.
Our daily bread is just one morsel,
so first, before this water turns to vinegar,
a prayer for those who are hungry,
truly hungry.
I prepare a rich feast
because sometimes I don’t want
what you do or don’t provide:
chrysalis, termite.
I make my own richer meal:
kittens, chicks.
That morsel you pass me,
I don’t want it, you can have it.
Milk spills into the sky
like oil into the sea.
All the nameless suns and stars and meteors,
the sky and all the birds in it,
the sea and all its fish,
every grain of salt and lump of sugar –
your glass, your bowl, your plate and table are full.
You
who gave me my hunger,
you who rule over it, you possess me.
I stand and hold out my plate like a handful.
The knife cuts open a mouth –
remember your oath!
You said you would come and rescue me:
me, the one you fed,
the one who will feed you.

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