The mouth with thin dry lips, white slips
of skin peeling off.
The mouth with cracked corners.
The mouth that laughed too long, in that too
The mouth that yawns wide,
a deep black hole.
The mouth that hates silence. Asks
too many simple questions.
The mouth that craves sweets at midnight, wakes
to raid the refrigerator.
The mouth that bites the tender pink inside
of her own left cheek. Sensuous mouth
that wears red lipstick, licks it off
before the night is done.
Mouth that begs
for dark chocolate, Merlot, and melted Brie.
Everything rich, warm, and completely forbidden.
The mouth I always feared
was too big.
The mouth I made too small.
The mouth I dreamed of rubbing off my face.
The stubborn mouth who never leaves.
That permanent, indelible pink stain.
Insatiable mouth that always asks for more.
The mouth that is hard
to keep open.
Mouth impossible to close.
The mouth that conspires, with me,
to keep us both alive.
Blameless mouth, who only lives
to chew, swallow, breathe.
As you can tell from the last two lines, this poem is where the title of my book comes from. Originally, I was going to entitle it “Learning to Love the Taste of Apples,” after the title of one of my Eve poems. It was one of the first poems I wrote for the book and I loved the cadence. But, there was something missing. It was intellectual, distant, and not nearly visceral enough.
After reading this poem, one of my thesis advisors encouraged me to rethink the title and to focus on “Blameless Mouth” as a title. I am so glad that she recommended this, because the new title guided me to much deeper poems on hunger and shame that I never would have written otherwise.
This poem has a companion poem in the book, called “Hunger, Revised”. I started to think of this poem as the statement for what this book was about. However, as my writing progressed and I started to see movement in this book, from hunger to satiety, I wanted to revise it. Thus, “Hunger, Revised” serves as the last poem in the book. I’ll post this poem at the end of my virtual reading.
If you want to stay connected to my progress with bringing Blameless Mouth to publication, I hope that you will join the Blameless Mouth Facebook page .
If you would like a copy of Blameless Mouth of your very own, I hope that you will check it out on Lulu.