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.