16 February 2008 | Vol. 7, No. 4


Baby or octopus, she knew the world through her mouth.

Everywhere was shore to her pacific Atlantic mouth.

Scallop of the top lip crowned in points, full pout

of the lower lip, teeth even ivories, an aristocratic mouth.

Before alar and DDT and GMO's, she was a red stone

in a cling peach whose stem was an aromatic mouth.

She found the word that drove all adults crazy. "Say it

again and I'll slap you." So? from her sarcastic mouth.

Too quiet! She sees the neighbor lady flail the bushes

with her wooden spoons. Do it. Open your frantic mouth.

Her eyeliner Mona Lisa'd freckles across her nose, false

lashes, shadows punctuated with a pink plastic mouth.

Cosmopolitan, girlfriends—even the victims themselves

offered instruction to her fellatiating athletic mouth.

In the stories the knight had his own horse, not a Ford

Pinto, and a kingdom, but "I do" said her romantic mouth.

If conversation is an aphrodisiac, she's Scheherazade

enchanting the PTA meeting with her tantric mouth.

"Why is the Julian Calendar important?" The question

plops into the classroom toilet from her pedantic mouth.

Jigsaw. Ragtime. Ginsberg. General Tso's chicken. My

grandmother's big fat toes meet in an iconoclastic mouth.

Shut your trap and begin again, Elizabeth, something

less elastic but this time, please, from your authentic mouth.

About the author:

Elizabeth Kerlikowske teaches at Kellogg Community College. Her new book, Dominant Hand, is now available from Mayapple Press. She raised three Scrabble players who now punish her regularly at the gaming table.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 4, where "Mouth" ran on February 16, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry, ghazal.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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