a moment on your mouth.

I was asked to write about the state of your mouth.

(and by asked, I mean, compelled)

I was asked compelled to write about the state of your mouth and the adjectives that arrive are: earth-bound, orchestral, hungry, polite, southern, like a pastry.

I was compelled to write about the state of your mouth as though it is a kingdom. A nation of skin and exhales. A confederation of spit and jaws.

I was compelled to write about the state of your mouth as though it contained rivers, bicoastal oceans, twelve reservoirs and a creek to wade in.

Your mouth is a compilation of love letters.

Your mouth is a completed volume of encyclopedias, the kind delivered to one’s door and full of illuminating photographs and unchartered territories.

Your mouth is an unlocked secret.

Your mouth is a mailbox, delivering care packages full of rice crispy treats and home-baked cookies and licorice and books and black ink pens and decoder rings.

I was compelled.

I was enthralled.

I was deliberate.

When I signed up (without end date) to study the correspondence, the choreography of the movement of you.

the one about mouths

“Your mouth is a liar,” she said. She could no longer forget his teeth and the way they were like squares of concrete with someone else’s initials etched in.

“You know my mouth. It has sung to you for years. Don’t you remember the first thing you said to me on that afternoon during that month of that year?”

“I want to eat your song,” she answered.

“What happened to us?”

“Your lips trembled and you slipped fourteen lies between my lips.”

“I apologized.”

“And you left. You left your tongue on the kitchen floor of someone else’s apartment and–”

“But I got it back.”

“But it never moved the same.”

“Sometimes people need to leave in order to remember how to stay.”

“I’m looking for someone who can stay long enough to forget how to leave.”



how poems arrive

You remember exactly what you were wearing when you wrote that. You can recall the stench of your breath the instant that stanza arrived– lunch of peanut butter and spoon. You know your socks didn’t match that day and the one which wore your left foot was longer, yet rebelled against elastic and gravity. After you erased that last line, you felt around in your mouth for your tongue. Remember. You worried it was swallowed– how irresponsible of you. You had a rash on your elbow. Both of your elbows. Derived from the heat, but it was Winter, so you blamed it on your over-active imagination, longing for summertime swelter. You licked your lips three times after each completed line because you somehow grew addicted to patterns. The title arrived inside your mouth after a nap: your teeth were wide open windows and snores were like a welcome mat to the three words you finally decided on.