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A quarterly international literary journal

Where She Was Nourished



By Lesley Younge


/ Poetry /

The last day of silence, of retreat,

of respite brings a challenge: a solo hike

in a forest 9,000 feet above sea level

where the wild beckons.


We are told that monks go into the forest

with only their robes, an empty bowl,

a set of choices. Tudong, it's called.

They must have faith or starve.


I have been starving too, wasting away

while ravenous clocks eat me bit by bit.

I seesaw between work and home,

both a weight I can no longer bear.


The grind has worn me down to the nub.

Even the art mews and paws greedily.

Guilt multiplies and I don’t add up.

Slices of me subtracted, there is so little left.


I faithfully crawl into the woods and seek rest,

a beggar prostrating on the forest floor.

Industrious ants gnash and gnaw entire cities below,

and here I’ve come, empty handed, a pauper.


The Land gives generously: an abundance of daisies

and an invitation to cover myself in their golden pollen,

filling my eyelids, my mouth, my throat, my belly.

I gorge at this feast, grateful to finally be fed.


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