Ode to Lasagna


by Dorothy Chan

A friend tells me his favorite word is “lasagna,”
and all I can think about is my favorite word, “sashimi,”
and yes, it’s near lunch time, but there’s something
about the s that gets me every time, and I love
toro and unagi and mackerel and salmon roe—
give me that tingling in my mouth once the roe ball’s
popped—sashimi, the rise and fall, the serpentine
motion of ssa, how sexy is my chirashi, like the hot
older sister of sashimi, partying it up in the club,
a little nip slip out of the tight-white-crop-top-cami
that reads, “I will destroy you,” serving me steam—
sex, a little vodka mixed with pineapple and seltzer,
and now, give me serpentine like Ingres’ La Grand Odalisque,
and how gorgeous is she—the butt, the peacock
feathers brushing, and when I think serpentine,
I also think contrapposto, and how the right man
pulls off contrapposto and the right woman pulls off serpentine,
and back to the Odalisque, just look at her back
that keeps curving, keeps curving, her face that does more
than launch a thousand ships—it dares you to join her
in this oil on canvas, and she’s telling you,
“Will you use these peacock feathers to brush up
against my leg—my thigh, tickle me and tease,
give me something a little bit more, tonight
behind this curtain.” And I guess “lasagna” isn’t that bad
of a word, but really, it’s no “sashimi” that rolls
off the tongue—slippery when wet, slippery always for you,
and when I hear “lasagna,” I think of Garfield
chowing down on his favorite entrée like there’s no tomorrow
in the middle of the Sunday Funnies, and of course,
Garfield’s babe of a girlfriend, Arlene of the long neck,
the pink fur, her lips that opened into her gapped-tooth-
supermodel-of-the-cartoon-world-smile, and once,
at a bar, my best friend pointed out that a boy stood
closer to me just because I was wearing pink,
and does that make all of us softies at heart? Give me
steam, give me sex, give me serpentine, and say something
to me so I won’t stop staring at your lips.


About the Author:

Dorothy Chan is the author of Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, April 2018) and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets, The Common, Diode Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, Blackbird, and elsewhere. Chan is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review. Visit her website at