Honourable Mention, Hot Pot

by Pamela Yuen

Hot pot 

Ferment a memory: Us,
All spittle in the chili. Double 
dipped chopsticks. There’s 
an open bottle of soju on 
a Formica table

in March. It’s still cold
enough to roll our bodies
in thick skins of tofu 
blankets terraformed
to hold our rolling anxious

I dare myself to bend
just a little bit more now—
backward, more inward.
Noodle flex old bones
inside shrinking mental 
real estate.

When we emerge in the new
world I will unfurl 
these clenched little fists. 
Hands uncrumpled 
like dried ear mushrooms 
come alive again in hot soup. 
A languid broken blooming 
from your salty mouth.


Pamela Yuen was born to Hong Kong migrants in rural Ontario. She is an expressive writing facilitator with the Toronto Writers’ Collective and serves as an executive member of Canadian Authors Association—Toronto Branch. Her spoken word can be heard through Brickyard, an audio/visual hub of Brick Books. You can visit her at @peameala. 

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