spreads in her naked glory
will be seen
stark in her isolation
with only a jade rabbit
As children we were taught many versions of her story. In some she is the loyal wife who tried, in a moment of desperation, to save the immortality pill her courageous husband with, after shooting down nine suns.
In others, she is the villainess, swallowing with intention—of claiming immortality only for herself—the two pills—all to herself.
In both versions, she floats to the moon, alone—her external exile etched for us all to see, in the shadows and crevices of the moon.
I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen such a figure in the moon—perhaps because I had never looked too hard—instead more entranced by the 月饼 and 汤圆that are typically eaten on this holiday.
these days I wonder
if she simply felt done
with her husband
with her life
with this world
women, her time
probably felt aches
they probably looked up at the moon
dreaming of escape
imagining a kind
probably do too
this one does.
I have in my life, been taught many lessons of what it is to be a woman. Not all these lessons were pretty, simple, or painless. And yet, each was valuable, for if it did not teach me more about myself, it certainly taught me about the ways of this world.
Regardless, the most valuable lesson I have been taught, through the many different versions of this story, is that womanhood is a choice.
I have a choice to feel a kinship to my gender, and that my gender need not be tied to false binaries but rather a history of struggle and triumph. I have a choice as to who I love, who I lay open for between my legs and in my heart.
So this 中秋节, which version of the story will I choose to believe?
Whichever one I goddamn please.