Ode to Food that is “Too Spicy”

by Michelle Yang

You, who birth accidental tears and coughing storms,
plow trails down my throat
and remind me of your existence the next morning
when I think the worst has passed.
You, best cure to a stuffed nose,
exorcism of the weak and untrained: an honor badge.
You, who make white boys
trying to impress their girlfriends at Asian restaurants
admit failure and cry.
Don’t let others tell you the right way to be:
You make me remember human mortality
in the best way possible.