2 March 2003 | Vol. 3, No. 1

Tongue in Cheek

She is captivated by tongues,

her own as well as others.

In the mirror, she scrutinizes

its relief-map underbelly

ridged in red and blue,

neatly seamed down the middle.

Sundays, she watches the minister's

pink one skitter his lips,

snaking out like Satan's tail,

licks of fire straight from Hell,

but always, once he's stirred

himself up to Sin,

flicking spittle in the air

like a Mace broadcasting incense—

at sermon's close, its discreet

windshield-wiper swipe

at sweat beads on his upper lip.

She owns two snakes, a monitor

lizard and a Venus flytrap,

disappointingly with no tongue to thrust

through its vicious whiskered maw.

A likeness of the giant anteater's

unfurled sticky worm

of tongue is tacked

just above her pillow.

Schlotsky's Deli makes her giddy—

huge tongues hung by salamis,

red tips curled as if caught in mid-moo.

She envies pierced ones, but fears

she'd lisp like her brother whose

flops out with every "T" and "S"

like Shamu at Sea World.

Tommy's, though,

is most beguiling of all—

as it does a slow dance

from between his lips,

puce and juicy.

She licks her own, in response,

says something, but really nothing

at once flushed and chilled

as he continues his tango—

Wanna go to the movies? he asks.

M'God, I just talked in "tongues!" she cries.

Yeah, I know, he smiles, the tip

of his still teasing,

Well, yes or no!

Can't 'til I'm fifteen, she mumbles;

Wanna see my Venus


About the author:

Judy Stainer has previously worked as an Assistant Editor of several racy magazines in New York, a school teacher, and a stay-at-home-mom. Her poems appear in Whistling Shade, Reading Divas, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Laurels, Streetplay, Poet-in-Tents Literary Journal, and Moods of the Vineyard, as Second Prize Winner. She can be reached at .

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 3, No. 1, where "Tongue in Cheek" ran on March 2, 2003. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

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