Once this highland was our birthplace. Once
we were children of kings.
Now I am a Siamese rosewood on fire.
I am a skin of sagging curtain.
I am a bone of bullet hole.
I am locked in the ash oven of a forest.
Peb yog and we will be.
The sky sleeps quilted in a militia of stars.
Someone has folded
gold and silver spirit
money into a thousand tiny boats.
hmoob and we will be.
I am hungry as the beggar who cracked
open a coconut to find
the heart of a wild gaur.
Hmoob and we
The tree is more ancient
than its homeland,
shedding its annual citrine
as hourglass dripping honey.
Peb yeej ib txwm yog
I dig and dig for no more roots to dig.
I soldier with my severed
legs, my fallen ear.
I’ve become the shrill
air in a bamboo pipe—the breath
of an army of bells.
I realize that there are limits to the good that sustainable lifestyles can do, but taking those extra steps is still important to me. They are acts of conscience and restraint, however small. One of my weekly offenses is wasting food. The ratios are always off when cooking for one, and especially since I am averse to meal planning and travel frequently, moldy food inevitably needs to be cleaned out of the fridge. The last time my dad came to visit, I ended up throwing away a bag of garlic bulbs and ginger stems weeks later. This time, I peeled cloves, froze sliced ginger, and seeded pomegranates that were starting to rot. An observer said I was crazy, but better that than wasting food.
I also made whole wheat sesame bread with flax seeds and raisins, sweetened with honey, adapted from this recipe. I only made one loaf, instead of three, using
2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
2 tablespoons black sesame powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
honey, flaxseed, and raisins as desired
I dissolved the honey in the lukewarm water and added yeast (to protect it from the salt) and added that to the dry mixture. The raisins were scorched in the oven, so next time, I’ll either press the raisins into the loaf or wrap the entire loaf in foil before baking.
All this made for a delectable movie snack:
A slice of the bread, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Dark chocolate chip gelato with heaping spoonfuls of pomegranate seeds.
A potful of chrysanthemum green tea.