Monday, October 4, 2010


By popular demand - by which I mean I need to share it - I'm posting the text of a poem that spilled out of the other day as a mini book. When I say spilled out, I mean that like a glass of milk that spills into yogurt and just looks right on the counter. I hope you will take from it whatever is right for yogurt.

American Mouth

How can you call that
thing you have
an American mouth
she said, her voice crammed with memory,
an American mouth is the Old English mouth
serifed in Irish, it is the Persian mouth
all reed and pigment;
you don't have room in your mouth
for the paddle of Polynesian, the cut of Norwegian,
your sharp little chompers couldn't bite
the kernel
of a Native tongue, it can't hold
the blade and hook.
The American mouth hides its language in its new language;
it's the space between all islands. Every word is
a breath.
My mouth is a million other mouths,
I said, the memory of their rhythms...but I'm alone,
lonely with my American teeth,
missing all the syllables I need to go home.
Look at your new little mouth, she said,
it's a parrot's mouth,
full of accent and without dialect.
You don't fill a mouth if
it's already full of air.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christina,

    I think this is perfect as it is. Your phrase "lonely with my American teeth," is outstanding as are the rest of the images, and the last line is wonderful. I also like the jaggedness of the lines, which fits the words.


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