205.348.7264 mfj@sa.ua.edu

Taste Test

Sarah Potts


Before you say that word you should taste it.
I mean really savor it.
Let the letters slide
Slippery over your tongue
Riding over buds and bumping against teeth.
Before it can escape through the gaps, chew it.
Hold it, molar on molar,
Compacting every syllable.
Mull it around in your mouth like an expert tastes wine,
A collection of vowels and consonants
Fruity or oaky or crisp or dry?
Is it light-bodied? Full-bodied?
Full enough to dredge up the image of the time you fell asleep in church,
And woke up afraid and guilty and shaking?
Or the time you tripped at the swimming pool and scraped your knee?
Does it recall the image of your own blood running red
Down the cement and into the cool, blue water?
Can you still hear him whispering it in your ear?
And the way it sounded, so sweet,
Clouded by a haze of fruity mixed drinks
Gulped from a plastic cup?
Can you feel how small you felt,
That time when it was pointed especially at you,
Thrown at you,
And your arms felt soldered to your sides,
And your legs felt like lead,
And you had no choice but to absorb it?
Are you ready?
Go on.
Spit it out.