I remember it well,
Trailing behind you
Suffocating in
The heat and stench,
As slopping water
Mingled with the blood
Of freshly gutted fish
Splashed against my
Flip-flops and
Onto my feet and ankles

I hated it,
Like a fish out of water,
I languished in the recesses
While you bargained like a magpie
With the feisty women
And crusty old men
Behind the stands
Of fresh meat and vegetables

You were completely in your element,
A bastion of strength
A vital tour de force
All instinct and sharp sense
As you picked out the freshest fruit
And tastiest cuts

Twenty years later,
The closest approximation
I have of a wet market
Is this colorful stand
In a breezy farmers market
Far away from the scenes
Of my childhood traumas

But as much as I abhorred
The wet markets of my youth
I am now glad for them
Because they afford me
A picture of you
That still brings a smile
To my face,
Even to this day

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