What’s known of the world is first known through the mouth

The more something refuses to be pried open,
the more you want to put it in your mouth.

You too can remember a time you wanted to taste
everything hot from the pan, eating standing up

at the counter: burned fingers, burned tongue
worked quickly to unravel the mystery at the heart

of a bundle wrapped tight in banana leaves,
steamed all day until the meat and juices

ran pungent and thick. The throat knows when the cold
is coming, the gut knows lard will congeal. In the filmy

orb of the fish eye, the eye itself is a pebble of chalk
boiled and blind to the fact of appetite. Only water

might forgive what is in excess. Only evening understands
what time is made of, through what labyrinths it has passed.

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