my ships are ready – Ellen Huang
boy in black apron like a schoolgirl
dress, me in my black and green
like an aromantic flag (minus the white)
or a haunted mansion host, except I smile.
we had just spontaneously gotten pots and pans
and everything for making dumplings.
in this moment, time melts away
as the hours flow into the netherworld.
we are simply two night owls,
one teaching the other to slice the pound of pork
chop the scallions, cut the onions,
crack the egg, mince the garlic,
stir (squish) and stir (squish) and stir
we let the mix cool and just an episode or two later
we are dipping fingers into a tiny dish of cold water
tracing the outlines of the disc of dumpling skin
scooping pork mix into little bundles
sealing them up tight, little packaged envelopes
and repeat / fold / pinch / delightfully.
as the night cools into reaches of 1am
out of nowhere, you lean back your head and laugh
how silly it was, you say, that I was so depressed
yesterday, and yet here I am—and here we are
with each trace, scoop, seal, press, tiny delivery
we make little ships and fill plates upon plates
a fleet of little dumplings, and we lightly trace words,
spoon stories from our electrified nostalgic night brains
seal / press / fold, one little tale after another
full / filling.
a montage of pictures on my phone
a flour fight, laughing, the fluff of soft powder
sifting like snow in our hair, like frost on our faces
softness sprinkled over the island, over the arriving fleets.
and even though you later turned out allergic to gluten and
this moment, never repeated, is unique in all the world,
I go back to that post-midnight meal
the way we were kin in the kitchen
making trade and marking journeys
how we folded our chosen stories up into little ships,
sizzled the mix and turned on Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
and ate with relish, the sum of all ingredients.
Ellen Huang (she/her) is an aro/ace writer of fairy tales and speculative fiction who is still learning how to cook better. She has pieces published/forthcoming in Mochi Magazine, Next Door Villain, Wretched Creations, Enchanted Conversation, Sword & Kettle Press, Gingerbread House, Three Drops from a Cauldron, and Not Deer Magazine. She runs a blog where she indulges in the spirituality of movies that leave her feeling magical and well fed. Follow if you wanna: worrydollsandfloatinglights.wordpress.com. She lives in San Diego with her pan roommate, his pet gecko, and whatever benevolent fire demon keeps the place running.