Issue 29 | Spring 2022

Wasabi and the Crow

My darling,
            Loving you was like romancing air, nothing
to butt up against
                    except your charm.

Orbiting each other, the magnetic attraction,
                    the white space between.

When I was pawing the ground, head bent
ready to charge,
                    you were lithe as a matador, your silken cape
                    chastened me.

How you always knew, even before I did—
                    Stop yelling at me! said with a twinkle
                    to my tight lips.
You read my silences like braille.

Some days, you played the bull
            and I would flee, pretending to be a wood nymph.
                    Your winks and jokes tickled my nose.
When I sneezed, you quivered through me
                    from scalp to soles.

                    Like the wasabi and the crow,
                    how it shook itself, feathers ruffling
after taking a beakful of green paste from the trash,
                    eyeing us,
                    it returned again and again, shuddering
each time like the first. How I felt when you nibbled my earlobe.

            Alone on the beach under an empty sky, it all comes clear.
You promised me vastness—
                    and delivered,
even before your irrevocable exit.

Now that you are safely dead,
            I unlock my jaw—
                    teach my voice to roar.

Filed under: Poetry

Born in the UK, raised in the US and now living in Australia, Laura Jan Shore’s poetry collections include Breathworks (Dangerously Poetic Press, 2002), Water over Stone (Interactive Press, 2011), Afterglow (Interactive Press, 2020). She’s also the author of YA novel, The Sacred Moon Tree, (Bradbury Press,1986) nominated for the Washington Irving Children’s Book Award. Her work has been published in anthologies and literary journals on four continents including The Griffith Review, Magma and The Best Australian Poems 2013. In 2019, she received her MFA in Poetry from Pacific University.