Poison

by Caroline Price

She goes back to him in the way experienced diners
return to a certain Japanese restaurant in Soho
because they know the chef there is one of the few
to have survived the training, the examinations,
his fingers clever and confident enough
to make the incision, knowing just where to place    
the knife tip, to run it along the slit skin
to the exact point of plunging downward –
knowing how closely he can graze
the dusky obscure intestines, the gonads and liver,
just enough to allow a baby’s breath
of toxin to mist the flesh
so that as the diners lift their chopsticks
their eyes are already glistening;
and they delay each morsel in the soft caves
of their mouths for a moment before they swallow
and let the drift take hold, numbing
their edges, beading their skin with shock
and the knowledge of having given themselves
to a master, the lightness that follows, the floating.