Starving, we eat. By the end, morsels of dried rice cling to our shirts.
One bowl holds our sour soup to feed four people. The ash, from the
chopped tree bark, consumes us. The liquid gasoline is funneled into
plastic bottles, then placed into the furnace and lit. I went to bed hungry.
Listen to the daily pork chopping as the cleaver hacks into
the silence of father laboring in the fields. It is presented on the table.
My father’s rib bones curl as he tells me, “Eat until you’re full.”
But there is hardly any meat to kill and to share, so I say I am full.
At the roadside food stands, steaming bowls filled with rice noodles
are mixed with lime, bean sprouts, sugar, salt, pepper, oil, and pork.
I sit at the table and a girl says to her aunt, “Look, there’s a pig!”
Thinking it was me, gobbling down the bowl, I sat in silence. But then,
a black pig walked toward us alongside the road. Our everyday meal.
My co-teacher used to bring us mangoes, papayas and pomegranate from
her backyard. We spat the seeds outside the class window, and we would
meet under the mango tree. Sopheak says all she wants is a simple life.
Jewel Pereyra received her B.A. in American Literature and Culture and Women’s Studies from UCLA in 2013. Her most recent article “(Deaf)iant Architects: ASL Poetics and Concrete / Corporeal Spatiality in the Deaf Diaspora” was published in Georgetown’s gnovis: a journal of communication, culture, and technology, and her poems have been featured in Vagabond: A Multilingual Literary Journal, The Pomona Valley Review, and The Anthem. A 2017 Homeschool Hudson Poetry Fellow, her writing has been supported by Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. (PAWA). She is completing her M.A. in English at Georgetown University where she serves as the Lannan Associate for the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.