Portrait with Carbs and Head-on Shrimp and Hungry Ghosts

Noodles with bread, rice
with bread—just part of
our inscrutable, redundant
nature. Or, is it that cheap
sources of starch are easier
for the immigrant to come by,
compared to cuts of meat and
filets of fish? We go to
Asian markets where salmon,
bass, and shrimp are cheaper
per pound than at regular
grocery stores, where the price
of one bag of bell peppers is
equivalent to the price of just
one at Harris Teeter or Fresh
Market. We gut and scale
the fish ourselves, and keep
the heads on shrimp for the bits
of precious orange fat in their
cheeks. We are the original
inventors of snout-to-tail,
having used through history
every part of the animal
to sustain us in our need.
Every birth and death
and occasion in between,
we mark with miles of blood-
stuffed sausage and rice cakes
smoked in banana leaves; and
always, we set aside mouthfuls
for all our ghosts, shake
drops of wine on the ground
for wandering spirits and
guardians of our hunger.

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