SASHIMI  by Juliet Kono


You call

eating sashimi



I slice pieces

from a slab

of my favourite fish,

abura shibi,

from Kekaulike Market.

Upon a blue plate,

on a bed of shredded daikon

and chiso leaves,

I fashion

thin, red slivers

of raw fish

into a pinwheel.

In the center of this wheel,

I place a dollop

of wasabi mustard,

into a flower cup

cut from a carrot.


I dissolve

the pungent mustard

into the shoyu sauce,

the aroma exciting

my ancestors –

they dance

on my tongue.

I pierce

a slice of fish

with a chopstick,

dip it into the sauce.

I close my eyes.

I let the smooth fish

slide over my teeth,

my tongue,

then swim down

my gullet.

I chase this fish

with a mouthful

of hot rice,

some green tea,

and smack my lips

in ancient noises

of satisfaction.

I take another piece.

Looking up,

I toast you

with this trembling


Soon you will come

to appreciate

the years

behind my palate.

And I am patient

as all love is patient,

for you will learn

as you once learned

with women –

to close your eyes

and take


to mouth.