Not Another Metaphor 

My tongue was a leather belt beating my teeth. OK
that one’s not so bad. Can I make the teeth those little
grommets (is that the right word?) that hold the shoe
leather together? Oh, I forgot to say my mouth was a shoe.

It’s not. OK, it’s a bell. Able? Get it. It’s the day
after the fourth of July and they’re talking about the ‘Bell
Tapping’ ceremony on the radio. See, the Li ber ty Bell
is too fragile. I’m not. Come on and tap me.

The sky is glass. The sun’s a lightbulb. I stuck my tongue
on it once. It stuck. Tongue sandwich. Sizzle. Your father
says he can’t eat something that’s tasting him while he’s tasting it.
I say, come on, its all meat Sweet. Spit sauce Bar-B-Q.

It tastes red and yellow. Like a suitcase made of red-hot
steel Molten. You want Genghis Khan on the Silk Road?
Well, Cooter, that ain’t in West Virginia. I’ve got tortoise-shell
teeth. Pretty. See me smiling or did you break your eyes?

Your looking-glass, the Holy Mirror of Know-Nothing Mind.
You tried to get me to hear the echo on the radio. It just
bounced off your teeth. I know you love to be off-balance.
Shine up your skates and wax your skis. I’m your Bombardier

in blue, Babe, I’ll be flapping when you fall. You’ll be sizzling
on an ice cube. I’ll be spitting dry ice at you. Toot sweet. Yup.
Toodle-oo. The stove is waiting for your teeth I’d set
your tongue on fire. But your teeth might spill their gold.

* * * * * *

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner-city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.