Love in the Time of Kaiten-Sushi

slate board with two nigiri sushi and soy sauce globules

Poem for The Read Horse zine.

iti
Sweet tentacled Tako
met bitter inky Ika
on Guardian Soulmates.
Haiku writer seeks
similar nigiri to pair.
Prefer businessman
without fetish for underwear.

ni
He waits, watching the rain
feign buttery smears
like his ex-wife’s mascara.
Her heels hurry.
They hop in hope
through neon puddles,
but quaver towards the table.

san
Both sup from dumpy cups,
chew coloured oblongs,
rice rolled round
edible circles,
like the hay bales she played on
when her hair was the colour of tamago.
Ripped nori strips
weaved between rows,
remind him of the beach at Blackpool
clutching seaweed between his tiny toes.

si
Outside they kiss,
two umami tongues tying,
breaking brothy as
Hokusai’s salty wave.
The lovers wash over the bridge
before the last tube scuttles down the hole
and the barren platform is
a face bereft of its beatific mole.

go
Yet at the ticket barriers she says goodbye.
Unagi’s coil tightens its hold
on his soured heart. This
idealistic geometry fails
amidst the sprawl of the capital.
Love cannot be contained
between two sanded sticks
and a deft grip.

With thanks to Chris Stanley for the carp illustration.

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