Fugu*



*Japanese poisonous fish also known as blowfish. A delicacy.

Don’t just stare at it, eat it. Go on.
Do not be afraid.
It lies there in that perfect handmade bowl
yearning to be eaten.

That is its purpose.

It is why someone went out on a grey morning
and fished on the wild water,
enticing it to bite with a flick of a line.

It is why it was left to die gasping on the deck
seeing the unfiltered light of day for the first time
through a single upturned eye.

It is why it was stored in ice colder than the Siberian sea.

Brought from the market it warmed by day until its flesh softened,
its glassy eye melted, and it lay on the slab
under harsh electric lights,
waiting for somebody to fillet it with sequinned hands,

discard the poison,

cube the soft pale flesh, toss it into hot oil, fragrant
with garlic and spices, then gently lift it from the pan
and place it into this handmade bowl.
Garnished with herbs and a little black pepper,

it is a work of art

you must eat.

Place your life in that artists blade.

Grip hard with your chopsticks the flesh will try to slip
your grasp. Bring it to your lips,
accept its threat like a kiss.
Trust it.
Savour its sting on your tongue.
Feel the warmth of the melt and the release of juices.

The morsel will not last long, but the taste,
well, the taste will linger in your memory

for as long as you might live.

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