portion of the artwork for Damian Caudill's poetry
A Mouthful
Damian Caudill

Last day of March and I am eating the rectangle remains of your birthday cake
which now, 8 days aged
tastes of Monday’s pork smoke,
and Amy’s dead dog left crinkle-cut in the road
by the Trailblazer’s skid line.
Here in the vanilla sponge,
I find the part in your mother’s grain-seamed hair
and this tendonitis stuck like taffy in the thin of my elbow.

And I remember last year when Meg sent us
a calendar of the SouthinEats for the wedding she couldn’t make
and you said wed start trying by April’s slow-simmered collard greens.
Would know for sure by late June and the night-thickened etoufée.
And by September and the muffuletta mumble we’d have a name picked out.
Something slow-cooked in the back of the mouth,
soft-syllabled and steaming up from us.

But tonight in those last bites I can feel your tongue on the rib-chip in my tooth.
Can see in the fork reflection your hair falling out with my breath
the first time we tried,
and falling still each time since
until our bed is colored copper-penny,
is follicle roux.
And still nothing takes.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 33 | Summer 2011