Fish Head Soup
Esther Yun


Remember this. Fish head soup
should be eaten on the hottest summer day.
Pungent and spicy, it will make you sweat;
keep you cool.

Boil it in a big pot with peppers and leeks
and Minari leaves. Eat it cross legged
out on the weathered wooden porch like we did.

There is little of the head which cannot
be devoured. Pull away the cheeks,
the meat there is tender and sweet.
The eyes should be shared.

Suck the skin off the sheets of cartilage
and when picking flesh off the jaw,
avoid snagging your thumb on their teeth.

Grandma sorts bones on the splayed newspapers.
There’s been another shooting in Oakland
and she lays the prickly spines across the obituaries.

This is how quickly we go, she says.
Points at the picked clean faces,
the shucked out sockets.


Esther Yun is a poet currently studying Psychology and Creative Writing at the University of California, Davis. Her work has previously been published in The Nameless Journal, and she is a recipient of the Celeste Turner Wright Prize in Poetry. When she is not exploring her new craft of poetry, she enjoys sampling craft beers or playing her ukulele.