11/10

pho

my boyfriend used to float me in the broth
between cubes of tofu & green scallion ringlets.
he'd take his fork & stirred the soup
like a fortune. so much about having a lover
is about watching them eat. i can still
conjure his mouth wide. patchy teeth.
pale-ish tongue. a kiss soon
spiked with siracha & beef.
the noodle shop on the other side of town
had a water fall made of christmas lights 
& a television playing a koi fish pond
on repeat. we ate there a few times.
i loved pho. the soup a little garden.
a pool i could look into & see no reflection.
ceramic white spoon. damp chopsticks.
at the bottom of the noodles
maybe some escape. a tiny trap door.
a little latch. he sometimes stood up.
circled the table 
& pressed his still soup warm lips to my neck.
me & him were the only people
in the whole restaurant. i always wished
it were crowded. bustling. more couples
at every little wooden table. his hand 
touching my knee. 
him, pointing to the broth
& begging me to slip inside.
no my dress will get stained. no 
i'm hardly edible today. 
all the while the loop-bound koi 
did their dances between each other.
i always gave in at some point.
he'd say, no one is watching
& if you can't do this for me
how can you say you love me?
i would save my crying 
for once i was submerged.
let myself shed rich tangy broth
between a soft mushroom 
& a bright orange carrot disk.
little fragment i was
looking up at a boy through
the miso murk. now, when i eat pho
i dig for her just to be sure
she's not still down there
hiding between tangled noodles.
cilantro on her forehead
like a crown. 

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