Eating Chå Cá Lã Vong in Texarkana

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June 22, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Annette Sisson


In childhood
I thought rice
a strain of wheat,
an eastern branch 
of the genealogical 
tree of pasta. 

At twenty-five 
I sifted these alien 
grains into water, 
added salt. 
Mental slideshows
of Japan, China,
Vietnam clicked—
me wearing tee shirts
under kimonos, 
Sandogasas on 
Ocracoke Beach, 
Chå Cá Lã Vong 
in Texarkana.

West of Memphis
past the broad lap 
of the Mississippi,
I brake, drift
to the gravel
shoulder. Paddies 
of rice sweep 
the cropland in 
four-sided berms. 
Aluminum silos
gleam behind 
green tendrils, 
tilted in breeze.

Sudden as rain,
nimble as wind,
rivers of verdant rows
wide as the sea
wave like laughter.


Annette Sisson’s poems can be found in Birmingham Poetry Review, Nashville Review, Typishly, One, Rust and Moth, and many other journals. Her book, Small Fish in High Branches, was published by Glass Lyre Press in May 2022, and her chapbook, A Casting Off, was published by Finishing Line in 2019. She was a Mark Strand Poetry Scholar for the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference and 2020 BOAAT Writing Fellow. Among other awards, she won The Porch Writer’s Collective’s 2019 poetry prize—and was shortlisted for the 2021 Fish Poetry Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Frontier New Voices contest.


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