the guest

Annji Kinoshita

I see her on the street; she looks

like me, straight hair, small hips.

Our eyes meet, her mouth opens.

Words like fish fall from

her throat and flop

in the air between us.

For a while there's that awkwardness:

What can I do with these fish in the air?

How can I get these fish back in my mouth?

My mouth opens to let breath escape.

Her hand moves to cover hers.

I hear a soft, self-conscious saw-lee

The accent of my mother

whose tongue swims across

Japanese, Chinese

Kudamono ga daisuki desu.

and ni tai-tai how ma

whose tongue thrashes

among English

Hi. We not home

now but if you rike reave messahge...

Verb endings, articles, pluralizations

like hooks in her throat.

Her eyes won't look at mine

anymore, concentrating only

on her map in clutched hand.

I say stop! but she is gone,

feet jerking her body like

mine away from me.

I look at myself

in storefront glass and see her cheekbones.

I twist my neck to the right and crane,

touching the hollow between shoulder bones.

Throat, I say, what language is your guest today?

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©Copyright Annji Kinoshita