I loved a man who craved sushi and never seemed to care that I had to force myself to nibble around the fish, puddles of soy sauce mixed with daikon radish and ginger.
I appreciated the lovely dragon curving around the plate with its lime green scales and purple horns, but really I would have preferred tempura or another restaurant altogether.
Sushi replaced me as the object of his affection, or maybe I was only a temporary stand-in for what he really wants—a delicate blend of sea and salt and fresh raw fish.
My merman came to shore for a quick kiss and a breath of fresh air, swam back to his ocean lair, murky depths, seaweed tangled in his hair. Is this a kingdom of dreams, scraping along a sandy bottom, sand dollars
and sea stars gleaming in the dark? Is this a way to stay submerged so the sharp poignancy of the lighthouse beam cannot illuminate the truth?
I never learned to eat sushi, but I went along for the company and the saké. The saké went off like fireworks, sparkling into darkness and falling to earth.
Months later, I sit alone in the sushi bar and order a glass of shiraz, tempted to saké, and then lift the glass to you.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss “The Big Bang of Prose Poetry,” Carol Dorf’s introduction to prose poetry in TW.
Wendy Brown-Báez is a writer, teacher, performance poet, and installation artist. She is the author of Ceremonies of the Spirit and transparencies of light. She has appeared in galleries, bars, cabarets, community centers, and other venues from Chicago to Mexico.
Wendy is the creator of Writing Circles for Healing and received McKnight and Minnesota State Art Board grants to present writing workshops for nonprofits and at-risk youth. Read more about Wendy at her website Writing Circles for Healing.