Techno plays from outdoor speakers
at the beach restaurant in Tel Aviv.
I scan faces, trying to place them—
Poland? Russia? Tan, lipless men
toting wives and kids, giving me
dirty looks as I suck my shisha.
The waiter brings me a whole fried fish,
halved lemons on the side, an insistent fly
buzzing around the silvery desiccated head.
An Israeli woman with big, perfectly square
gold earrings locks eyes with me. I think we’re
both confused what it’s about, holding the stare
several beats too long, like hammy actors in a play,
till a man joins her, facial hair like a Trans Am.
The scorn with which he looks at me
makes me feel like I’m Pinhead from Hellraiser,
barbed wire wrapped around my face.
Lemon juice stings my cuticles. I smile at him
as I suck my fishbone clean.