i come back and find this place still only has two traffic lights. wanted it to taste like friday night
fish fry. tastes more like another funeral and sour duck eggs and sawdust. and this meat market,
sixteen miles away—another town i don’t have a name for—where mom just ordered an eleven
pound brisket to fill our stomachs and some other empty cavity. there’s a refrigerated case stuffed
with beef sticks—cheddar-leek, sweet maple, and something called swamp fire. sticker says it’s
spicy. sounds like it tastes how i feel. burning from the inside. hollow logs and chirping things
and bluegill who bite too fast and die on the hook. minivan ride back to nowhere. mom puts the
meat in the smoker and asks if i wanna go fishing. she says, won’t always feel this way, y’know.
laughs and says—soon there won’t be anyone left for us to burn.
Ashly Kim is an over-caffeinated Philadelphian and weekend fishmonger. When not adventuring with her two kids, she enjoys eating tacos and hoarding books like a literary dragon.
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