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.