I DON'T MISS MY GHOST TONGUE
except for when i remember for when
at the dawn of fourteen months,
my parents tore my tongue into a lisp.
cleaved in half: trained the left
to normal pronunciation & the right to
slurred syllables i’d spill & bury
in small-town graves & then at one
hundred months, i sawed the left off. ghost
tongue, sometimes i feel the muscle bloom
against the palate of my mouth
& when i bite down, ghost blood leaks.
at the dawn of one hundred thirty-seven
months, a speech therapist spoke of remedies
& regrowth for the left half & told me
to become a salamander. axolotls regrow limbs,
regrow hearts, regrow limbs. she said
swallow ‘em stem cells / mix ‘em with eggs /
extra scrambled / it’s breakfast every day
until your tongue kisses itself. what she didn’t know:
i’d saw it in half the second she turned
her back. we ended our sessions soon after.
i don’t miss my ghost tongue except for when:
my grandparents told me i like to talk talk talk
& i was meant for the news reporter life
& i said my ghost tongue wasn’t crafted
for the tv screen, wasn’t meant for the speaking
job, & they said our president has a lisp himself /
these days, they let anyone open their mouths. &
i wondered how the axolotls did it:
regrew an entire part of themselves.