what’s in a mouth
my stomach, empty except for
the off-brand Tupperware container, empty except for
the pot that’s older than i am, empty except for
the heads of the 20-something ducks whose tongues i’ve taken, full except for
i am the duck tongue queen of this Chinese-Canadian suburb,
and the ducks in the river behind my house fear me.
i eat duck tongues for breakfast.
i will drive 30 minutes to the Asian superstore and back for them.
these tongues, these tiny nubs of muscle,
marinated in the pepper juice of my mother’s top-secret recipe;
they freeze my mouth and set it on fire,
tongue on tongue on tongue on
tongue on tongue.
i could never tie a cherry stem into knots
but i can suck the meat off this spur of bone in two seconds.
we all find things we’re good at:
tying our laces, drawing tomatoes—
eating the parts of a duck you never even knew you could cook.
The Greatest Lie Ever Told
by John Banning
... I have fainted on the floor of a bathroom and woken up and gone into another bathroom and fallen asleep in there ...
reviewed by Ashley Wagner
... In these poems, Bellinger explores the symptoms of a uniquely American breed of indoctrination...