by Gabrielle Bates
My father and I sit at a sushi bar in my new city
sampling three different kinds of salmon nigiri.
He tells me about a great funeral speech
he recently heard a son give for his father.
The speech was structured around regrets
everyone assumed the father didn’t have,
interspersed with hilarious stories involving boys
crashing the family van and fishing mishaps.
The ivory salmon is pale and impossibly soft.
The sliver of steelhead, orange enough
to pretend it’s salmon. How else to say it.
I am my father’s only child, and he is my mother.
We dip our chopsticks into a horseradish paste
dyed green and called wasabi. I know his regrets.
I could list them. But instead at his funeral
I will talk if I can talk about nights like this,
how good it felt just to be next to him,
to be the closest thing he had.
from JUDAS GOAT