Mouth Stories

This entry is part 24 of 29 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2012-13


She was but the daughter of a farmer who owned a small
tract of land, a hat with a brim, one good white suit—

And he was the son of a man he knew only by name and the long
stub of ash before it fell from the cigarette into the tray—

And she on the other hand was a child when her mother expired
in that unfortunate flowering of war, when a soldier ran

a bayonet through her brother’s heart— There in the field,
that wound pried open in the shape of a gaping mouth—

Even now, they recount how long lines of men walked
south and farther south in the heat— For days

furtive foraging in paddies for snails and frogs,
for draughts of water thickened with mud— For days

their hands, roped and stacked behind their heads—
Pliable like leaves and tender, the shoots

you couldn’t guess you could mash with your teeth
and hold like a shield against the roof of your mouth.


In response to Via Negativa: Invitation to the mouth.

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