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 –
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
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
Sweet fruit-loop tears
looked so nice
on a silver movie screen.
But umami –
were the tears
that stayed in your eyes
long after you thought you’d cried them out.