do not speak to me
say your grace
put your elbows on the table
smack with all sides of your mouth
allow your lips to grow slack
after sucking out the marrow
pick bits of viscera out of your canines
with the cracked bones
swallow your dinner’s pride and
consider the savory
lick the inside of your cheek
caught up in gourmandizing
bite your tongue
mix all the blood together and
your mouth a ravenous cradle
toss the sinew but
allow the fat to melt on the tongue
hum a lullaby and rub your belly
to better digest
waves parting a briny, petulant tide
a hole punched in a polaroid picture
lightning rods in the knot of an oak tree
stone tying the blind river to its course
amorphous piles of sinew and fat
bones made slack over time hearing voices
dearly departed delta sediment
a bottle of whoops and roars untethered
sandbags awaiting precious floodwater
a towering cumulus prone to sink
prince rupert’s drop and a pair of pliers
something categorically petrified
but still the body fettered to green earth
must find time to be none of these and real
Wait for honey to drop from the cumulus-ridden skies,
but don’t dwell on cavities. Instead pull the whole tooth.
Keep pulling until there is nothing but gums and craters.
Learn to photosynthesize when your mouth is empty.
Grow new teeth, gorge yourself on murk-dwellers.
Thank your mother for not making you hardheaded
as the crucifix fish. Sing for your grandmother but
only from the belly, don’t wail, don’t dig your toes into the dirt,
don’t weep over her grave and hope for lavender to grow.
Where are you going? Your teeth are looking for you.
They’re tired of you reciting pleas mush-mouthed.
Rearrange their order, see how they get along. Laugh
disgustingly at ghosts and try to hold in your teeth.
Accept a banshee knock at midnight. When she screams,
realize that it is your own voice, snatched up when unguarded
by the molars. Bargain your own words.
Agree to keep them to yourself. Cross your heart over
and over until it is a heap of mince. Become your grandmother.
Swallow your teeth. Count the bones in your head. Begin again.