PoetryIssue 20 | May 2014

Floating World

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

When Jiro dreams, he dreams of sushi.
His knife slices red tuna smooth as water.
Of ten tuna for sale, only one can be best.
He buys his first choice or nothing at all.

His knife slices red tuna, smooth as water,
his fingers telling him the taste.
He buys his first choice or nothing at all.
His grandfather was the god of eel.

His fingers told him the taste.
He was a sushi sensei, a legend.
Jiro never met Grandfather, god of eel.
The market is a cavern, a temple of tuna

for a sushi sensei, a legend.
The bite should be crisp, then sink into flesh
at the market, a cavern, a temple of tuna,
a swirl of cold ocean made solid.

The bite should be crisp, then sink into flesh
of ten tuna for sale. Only one can be best,
a swirl of cold ocean made solid,
Jiro says. He dreams of sushi.

Editor’s note: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011), a documentary directed by David Gelb, follows eighty-five-year-old Jiro in his quest to perfect the art of sushi making.

About the author

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist in California. In another life, she was a German Lit major, read poetry for credit, and lived for Art. She has been in such wild places as: Jasper, Alberta; Radium, British Columbia; Ray Lakes in the Sierras, and the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Los Angeles after dark. She received Honorable Mention in the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Contest, and her poems and photographs have appeared in Lilliput Review, Off the Coast, and Sow’s Ear. Kattywompus publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. See more at her blog.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok