Korean BBQ by Claire Kopp

Korean BBQ

Four pale faces eyes squinted with consternation, our options obscure.

Unfamiliar symbols on a laminated surface make

eyes skitter across the page, unable to rest on a recognizable

form.

 

One table over, is teeming with chatter and laughter and Bar-B-Que.

Heaped with an array of incomprehensible items.

A woman there is raking the meat. Back and forth, back and

forth.

 

Running commentary of consonants streaming out to mix with air.

Exotic smells steam from a sizzling grill.

A high pitched laugh and a sideways glance.  We know we don’t

belong.

 

Feel the stare of the waiter waiting. Select at random, fingers crossed.

Multitudes of tiny dishes bearing gifts unknown. Unwrapped

upon the grill, or left as is? We have no

clue.

 

Meaningless codes left undeciphered. Combos meant to go together?

The air is humid with our confusion.

Here we have left the familiar

behind.

 

Tentatively dining on the foreign fare brought raw and glistening.

Fat sizzling, amateur chopsticking.  Struggling to lift, and hold.

Mix and matching.  Tongues cross hatching, find it

good.

 

Full and content we leave for home. The faces and voices ours again.

I wonder how must it feel, to never quite get the rules? To order a thing

and just hope for the best? To always eat from another’s

grill.

Bio: Claire is an Advisor with Impact Programs/Emerging Scholars and enjoys taking all kinds of classes here at Aims. She also really enjoys trying new foods and going new places which is what inspired her poem, Korean BBQ.