Days like these

A cup of tea can change your world.

By Rebecca Hamilton - Peace Corps Volunteer, Nepal (2015-2017)


On days like these
when all I want
is to curl up
under the drooping mosquito net
to lose myself in fantasies
of ice cubes and sharp cheddar
I go for a walk.
 
I pass a woman bent
under the weight of a load
twice her size
her breath rises
in clean, white puffs
like the kitchen smoke that
lies low over the valley.
 
A man chants
I smell whisps of incense
morning gratitude.
 
The sun finally reaches
the eastern slope of the Himalayas
their vast snow fields glow
beckoning
stretching their golden arms.
 
At my house, father squats
before a sputtering fire
his thin, green sweatpants
cling to his knobby knees
chiya?
he hands me a steaming cup
milky, sweet, spicy.
 
On days like these
 a cup of tea
can change my world.


This poem was selected as the winner in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. It was selected from more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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