Umami Tears

by Maia Siegal, age 14
Umami Tears Maia Siegel is fourteen and lives in Roanoke, Virginia with her family and two cats. She has been published in The Claremont Review, and was highly commended for the Solstice Prize for Young Writers. When she’s not writing poetry she enjoys singing, acting, playing piano, and posting on her blog.

“I talked in hushed tones with my brother / while we were walking / to get his hair cut / about times we had cried / not salty tears / but umami tears – / substantial and / rich.”

     

I talked in hushed tones with my brother

while we were walking

to get his hair cut

about times we had cried

not salty tears

but umami tears –

substantial and

rich.

These savory tears fell

for fictional families

reunited in two-minute ads tear jerking

to sell electronics.

Our umami tears fell to songs

about dying in tin cans in space

and the fake grass in Jersey.

Rich, fatty tears fell for a male model we did not know

who cried at his pictures because

he looked real for

the first time.

Or rice-puffed eyes were caused by news

on red CNN banners

flashing breaking

In white block letters. The voices of alligator sympathy

boomed from the smile-lined mouths of adults.

 

We cursed the umami tears because

you could smile with teeth while

salty crocodile tears flowed

from irises.

Sweet fruit-loop tears

looked so nice

on a silver movie screen.

But umami –

Those

were the tears

that stayed in your eyes

long after you thought you’d cried them out.

 

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