for Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

Yesterday I offered you chocolate covered water
and you said OK,
as if I had made chocolate covered water
a thousand times before,
or offered you a cup of tea.

You did not seem surprised that chocolate covered water
was even a possibility;
or think it strange that there were balls of water
covered in gleaming chocolate
sitting in the fridge as we spoke;
or enquire about the physics of trapping liquid
in a shell of silky cocoa, melted in a double burner.

You did not even wonder why someone would take the time
to devise and execute such a frivolous dish;
or why anyone would want to bite through crunchy chocolate
only to have it dissolve into an explosion of H2O.

I wish you had at least asked whether
I had used black or white,
mineral or tap, still or sparkling.
But you just said OK,
as if, in your worldly travels,
you had had chocolate covered water
countless times before.

Jeff Zroback is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

My partner is a poet, and I have always been happy to comment on her work instead of tapping out keystrokes of my own. In this case, however, I was so inspired by circumstance that the poem came to me nearly complete. My partner and I were both reading when I decided to steal away into the kitchen and make her a treat as a surprise.  When I returned and asked her if she wanted a chocolate covered banana, she said "yes" as if she had been expecting this unusual dish (at least in our house) all along. For some reason I was inspired by her reaction and I started writing. The result was Chocolate Covered Water.



Copyright 2009