Tara Boswell



the other: the othering: the mouths: the mermaid fish
mouth she came out of singing tail. sing fin and fin
lips there. a time and a place for this singing into the
clamshell singing into the jar for your tongue in a
flesh vessel boned. unnerve the nerves wrapped in muscle
wrapped in bone with air bubbles. rising, the
crude witch knife makes a tongue stump wrinkled.
scallops and scales. the body language of slave girls
dancing barefoot and scabbed

hounds my heavy arms. a chewing tear: concession.
dragging my skeleton behind me, I bend to fit the
shape of the land you grew up in. my eyes, once
canals, you guard with fistfuls of rocks and I’m
damned. the ruins of my cunt. you shush! dig me if
you must. grind square teeth and check my
temperature. the blue rivers of your hand stopgap the
flawed arithmetic of fingerprints that can’t ever

blood can hysterically make cuts with enough familiar
pain. with enough familiar pain: a contract: to love a
man more dearly than her mother and father; to take
his right hand before a priest and before god; to know
god; to be baptized in the spontaneous blood of her
silk white slippers; to gain a soul but not take any; to
dance on her tippy-toes; to be grace; for banners of
scarlet and gold and ship full of trumpets; for revival;
for hallelujah sometimes, god,

drop a fit on you alright alright for you I’ll be fetal on
the shoreline. wrack in foam. my monster parts limp
and rigor. you call this love in a swiss chalet fretting.
you shush. no you. but it’s all mouthing bubbles. I’ll
breathe through my nose as long as you’ll let me. I
have no sisters to shave their heads for the loophole in
this tongue contract. I have no father. I have your
mouthful of turkey leg at a buffet clapping for more
slave girl dancing. I have fistfuls of grapes and loose
change in my pockets. you clap when I make them
make noise.

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