Karen George is author of Into the Heartland (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Inner Passage (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), Swim Your Way Back (Dos Madres Press, 2014) and forthcoming The Seed of Me (Finishing Line Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in Memoir, Louisville Review, Border Crossing, Permafrost, and Cortland Review. She has been awarded grants from The Kentucky Foundation for Women and The Kentucky Arts Council. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, and reviews poetry at Poetry Matters: http://readwritepoetry.blogspot.com/.
Alaskan Cruise Haibun
They opened the grand dining room doors to unveil the midnight buffet, and passengers poured through the cloud of disinfectant like flies zooming. Nauseated, I leaned to inhale the scent of ginger tablets you chewed for motion sickness. We moved with the mass, past banquet tables glutted. Jockeyed for photos of Neptune and Venus chiseled from ice. Radish roses. Doves coddled from carrots, raw potatoes and turnips dyed and cut into cockatoos and bald eagles. Watermelon birds of paradise, honeydew hummingbirds, cantaloupe parrots, peacocks with fantails of fruit shish-kabobs. An octopus of icing beneath dark chocolate palm trees. Butter sculpted into whales, sea lions, pirates and mermaids. Liver pate molded into fat-bellied spiders. When my mind veered to the wet pulp of a spider flattened on hardwood, I fought the gag reflex, forced a smile to match everyone’s wonder. But the cocoon of oohs and aahs could not protect me from the memory of all the food you failed to keep down–only one way chemo defiled you. We reached the end. Thin-sliced meats (already turning) cascaded like ocean waves.
With a champagne toast
we pushed through the dark waters,
the Inner Passage.