At the Seafood Department by Dorothy Chan

He’s obsessing, not over nurses or sexy librarians, but over mermaids. I discover this as he pushes the shopping cart into the seafood department and he stares at the fish tank—“Man, I’d love to see you swim in there.” I glance at the giant fish with its giant fish lips, picturing it eating me up, ugly lips sucking nipples…ugly lips sucking nipples. “Wow, what a freak of a man I’m with.” I laugh it off, but he’s for real. “C’mon, just play along with me; I play with you…” “Well…” I think about cutting the giant fish into three parts: the head glued to a Barbie doll’s body; the middle portion in its silver glory = Fendi’s next clutch; and the scaly tail for me, the lucky woman to put on—no, actually the head for me to put on and kiss him (he never specified the type of mermaid, and now I’m really letting him see food).


Dorothy Chan is currently working towards her MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Arizona State University. She is the poetry editor of ASU’s national/international literary magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review. In 2012, she graduated from Cornell University, with a cum laude degree in English with a minor in History of Art. Chan’s work has been in Cha and The Writing Disorder. Her honours include a 2012 Pushcart Prize nomination for her poem “Ikebukuro Train Rides” featured in The Writing Disorder, along with the 2011 Corson-Browning Award for Poetry (Cornell English Department) and the 2011 and 2012 Robert Chasen Memorial Prize (Cornell English Department).