Shark's Fin Soup
by Bob Bradshaw

Instead of a melting pot
America should think of bowls
of Shark's Fin Soup.
Here in this small restaurant
on Washington Street
everyone from
the Chinese and Russians
to the Italians

We share tables with strangers,
the room as noisy as a reef.
Conversations at the next table are indiscernable.
Only broad gestures
to waiters are understood
beyond a table's borders.
We are generous with offerings.
Bitter feelings are pushed aside
like emptied dishes.
We eat as busily
as fiddler crabs, slipping sweet morsels
into our mouths.
We're reluctant to leave.
The bitterness of the last few days
has evaporated.
Years later we'll recall
the ribbons of green onions
strewn over fish bones.
The steam drifting in
like a fog across the decks
of fishing boats.
And oh, yes, the friendship
simmering among the bowls
of Shark's Fin

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