A Poem for You Who Remembers The Salt of the Sea
The salty air remains convoluted until you turn
away. Then the revelation hits you in your
gut with a whisper of familiarity. Something in the eyes
of the passersby, in the gestures of their conversations,
something in that Baltic air.
This place, you breathe,
I know this place.
An old woman approaches you,
flecks of dirt on her lips.
Her mouth twists open: are you lost?
I see confusion, astonishment in your gait.
You smell the sweat mingled with
vodka that emanates from her
She points to a dark shop,
a tin shack a block away.
This place, she tells you,
has the best smoked fish I've had in
a 30-year radius. My tongue,
travels to two worlds ago. You see hints
of her past reflected in her words: cobblestones
slick and dangerous with cold, lined with
children laid out by parents
until their cheeks, your cheeks,
turn a florid kind of pain.
This place, she moans,
has the best smoked herring I've had in years.
And you believe her,
you smell it on her breath.
She's drunk off smoked fish.
About the author:
Born and raised in New York, Monique lives in Stillwater whilst she attends an MFA program for poetry in Oklahoma State University. She's an assistant editor for the Cimarron Review and has had her poetry published in Lunch Ticket's Amuse-Bouche feature. She finds the screeches of the subway to be energizing, and, yes, comforting.