When the Soviets wanted to impress me
a visiting American, they ordered
a grand car, almost an antique
and sometimes a road all to myself
they reserved an exclusive restaurant
just for me
the table weighted with piles of tasty dishes
the vodka unlimited
and often they served caviar.
Caviar is an acquired taste
a taste I acquired very quickly.
I became a connoisseur of caviar
learning to appreciate its various subtle qualities
appreciate the superiority of fresh caviar
each egg glistening, separated
from all the other eggs
each egg bursting with a pop
as I savored its salty, tart, tingling tastes.
This was not caviar sparingly
spooned from a tiny tin
but caviar stored in a mason jars
thickly spread over crisp toast
or sometimes eaten straight
washed down with vodka.
Ah, those were the days, when the Russians
thought we Americans had all the answers.
And now, I note, that here in America
some select beauty salons offer
caviar facial massages
which I thought, at first,
a waste of good caviar, but —
on the other hand—
if you really desire
a caviar facial massage, or even a body massage
I will abandon my principles and do it for you
I will spread the caviar over your face, over your body
massaging the glistening, salty, stinging black eggs
into your every pore, every wrinkle, every contour
you will smell it, smell its saltiness, its tang, its bitterness
smell the Caspian Sea, smell its fertility
as it works its magic on your body, my fingers
massaging the caviar into all your sweet spots.
When you are satisfied, at ease, happy
I will lick all the caviar off your body
tasting its sinful saltiness
its rich black creamy yolk
mixed with the smell, the taste
of your sweet, sweating body
to the last glistening egg.