my mouth

when I was a child

my parents marveled at my obedience

looked at other people’s kids and

gave thanks for how good I knew how to be

my mother told me

I was good without coercion, easy

like it was innate

but 

it was my mouth, she said

my mouth would get me into trouble

that I never knew when to shut it

always had to get in the last word

push

and push

that I made the mistake of thinking

being right

meant 

being righteous

made the mistake of thinking

that justice

meant they couldn’t come for me

always did

salt truth in the wounds of the wrong people

I wound

I wound and call it being real

I wound and call it honey drizzle

taste nothing but ash and blood

we’re all black and blue

we’re all black and blue, anyway

I harness smiles on my face with tired hands

until my jaw is a ready casket disguised as sugar

I like the way life feels in my mouth

pulsing

needing

wanting

I am afraid that soon

they will sanction my wanting, too

my lips, part wide

more divine than legs, cavern

darker secrets at their center, bleed

regularly just the same

I am wounded

I am wounded and it is called collateral

I am wounded and it is called deserved

there are so many names for hurting

for hurt

I see pain and it turns to water in my mouth like

sustenance for the struggle, my teeth 

bite back all the dark in me 

I am still good

but I got dark in me

my teeth

28 comets blazing

we’re all burning

we’re all burning, anyway

I wound

I am wounded

the biggest wound of us all is the world

so I hold it in my mouth

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