Still Hungry

Craving comfort food

I challenge myself to parallel park

Right in front of Jane’s Saimin Stand

Japanese high notes bounce along wooden walls

From the old jukebox in the corner.

Stepping in, sliding in the red vinyl booth

I am a kid again

Sitting in a saimin shop on Sundays

With my mom and brothers

Waiting for hot broth, noodles, wonton and

BBQ sticks hibachi charred with thick brown sauce.

My waitress takes my order and returns,

From decades of practice, she precisely lays

The soup spoon and chopsticks on the crisp paper napkin

Not forgetting that small dish for hot mustard.


My wonton mein arrives

Green onions chopped thin

Yellow ribbons of egg and

Sliced Kamaboko edged in hot-pink

Float among the dumplings

Side-order BBQ sticks ride shot-gun in a separate dish.


Fragrant broth promises a savory meal

But falls short at first bite

That cannot compare to another saimin stand

From so long ago

I eat it all and leave

Still hungry for comfort.

Talk story

  1. Fred Peyer says:

    Joy, your beautiful poem reminded me of my ‘comfort food’: Cervelat (the Swiss national sausage). Haven’t had one for a long time, but still have the craving.

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