Sweet and Sour

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Sweet and Sour
Wok-to-Go, Jackson, MS

I see the placid, broad-
faced Asian boy,

maybe 6, behind the counter
at Wok-to-Go,

waiting for the warm bowl
of rice

and milk his mom, the harried
cashier,

hands him. In this narrow
waiting area—

still home to iPads, trucks,
a TV, toys—

I have watched him grow
up.

The mom and I are friends,
of sorts,

in spite of language. She
smilingly

caters to me (a professorial
red-skinned

white man) and my brown
daughter,

gives me a free, large cup
of sweet-

and-sour sauce every time
because she

knows how Flannery pours
the concoction

over everything—pork,
noodles,

wings, rolls—this exotic,
ancient brew

of honey, soy, vinegar,
ginger, cloves.

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