for zeyar lynn
it isn’t sweet or salty
it isn’t sour or bitter
it’s somewhere in between
somewhere from above

it’s umami
the savory delight of monosodium glutamate
the buddha’s poop that has colonized our cuisines since 1908
the inducer of droll and drivel, that sensation of furriness on the tongue
the teaser to the throat, the softener to the hard palate
the loveless lover to the lingual tonsil
the made-in-japan-chinese-restaurant syndrome
the diamond powder, the tortoise hair, the hare horn
recognized safe for the general population
no serious adverse reactions
no long-lasting effects

only an imperishable aftertaste
from myeik mohinga to houston beef jerky
from kaes┼Ćng instant noodle to lima pachamanca
from the shrimp cocktail of nasa astronauts in space to
the food-aid package in east africa
even the inuit imbue their whales, walruses and seals with an essence of taste
the seasoning for all seasons
the most addictive of additives
the non-essential you can’t live without
the acid you yearn to lick every second
the undecided neurotransmitter
the enhancer of life’s flavors
the condiment to contemporary conditions
no wonder then
99 percent of humanity is over-ajinomotoed
the rest is under-ajinomotoed
if you are a 1-kilogram rat
15 grams of the sweet dust is your lethal oral dose
it works 50 percent of the time