Tonight, the waiter brings Happy Family
steaming under a metal dome
and three small igloos of rice.
Mounded on the white oval plate, the unlikely
marriage of meat and fish, crab and chicken.
Not all Happy Families are alike.
The chef's tossed in wilted greens
and water chestnuts, silk against crunch;
he's added fresh ginger to baby corn,
carrots, bamboo shoots, scallions, celery,
broccoli, pea pods, bok choy.
My daughter impales a chuck of beef
on her chopstick and contentedly
sucks on it, like a popsicle.
Eating Happy Family, we all begin to smile.
* * *
"Happy Family" (excerpt) by Jane Shore from Happy Family, Copyright 1999 by Jane Shore. Reprinted with the permission of St. Martin's Press.