TONGUE-TIED BY BRETT BELCASTRO
I ate ice cream in cups on account of a tongue too short not sickly or any less lumpen than they come but sewn into the mouth as by threads too tight, holding its reach with taut cords beneath the lower incisors and among that slick realm of bumps and pink glands we only see in dentists’ mirrors.
I could hardly speak for fear of exerting and tearing that slopping red organ,
deprived popsicles, waffle cones, sweet pops and even so far as corn dogs I lost the words and with them the thoughts of the mouth-world so that eating itself occurred in another tongue, another place, and I could not understand.
Unable to say it, losing thought of each thing to eat I lost thinking too, living without thought, but worst of all I still spoke, and sounded louder and smarter than ever, they moved me up to the fifth grade with swollen gums
soon enough the old organ-member grew more and too red, grown with the excess brain juice and blood no longer carrying oxygenated thought—these were the doctors’ words—and the pediatrician begins talking of lasers, glaring harsh machines to heat and melt away the thick cords binding tongue-to-jaw “But no,” he says, “and” in a single sweep of a practiced pediatric arm
(here I am on the table, legs dangling, throat droning like a monk, staring into the lamp above and my mouth open about twelve whole inches)
an unseen blade flashes under the tongue.
My mouth is full of so much blood and words that I can keep neither— I give freely all over the pediatric floor thinking, thinking again to thank them
so full of joy, tongue spilling like
and the whole time wondering if it were not better not to think as my shirt stained red with blood and the joy of popsicle juice