Pure O

Naomi Bess Leimsider


I am made of meat, which the tongue monster loves because it is hungry. Inside me,
a grotesquerie of hormones, bluish fluids, virus, bacteria, congealed organic matter rough to the touch and super duper alive.
Thrill to the billions of biological mutations!
Here is one big nightmare tongue, that most moist and muscular of organs has turned monster, slithering, searching for my brain, licking, looking, for the secret tunnels that criss cross my blood barrier and salty spinal fluid.

Study my smooth and scalloped gums for signs of rot.
Examine my extra large tonsils for somewhere to swallow.
Drag my jaw bone and break me open.
I’ll run away and join the legions of zig zag girls split into ragged thirds.
Insert me in the box for women sawed in half for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
The illusion rips me up; I try to hold myself together.

Oh, who or what should I be?
Should I yell through the bullhorn:
Behold a sideshow attraction body!
A carnival of feet jutting out of shoulders, hands dangling from knees.
Untethered shifty eyeballs. Dozens of dirty chins.
A pre-rhinoplasty nose and fifty pounds of tumor growing within.
Stick around for a bite to eat after the show. See if I taste when I lick my skin.
The tongue monster is here —
it will show itself in.

But sit tight because the motion of the circles will make you sick.
It comes in big looping loops like an O. Big, spacey holes,
especially the kind with a deep dark O like an O itself keep me cramping.
Deep Neanderthal squatting. Archaic human pain bearing down.
Back to the days when we were trembling. Back to the days when it was all dark before the light. Back to the days before the burning. A hole of burning in the skin.
Oh, there it is! The original sin!
Never mind all that now.
The tongue monster is hungry —
it just wants in.

I gather myself up as I’m tripping down all around.
Gather up all my falling off parts, my jagged pointy parts, my pulling hair
and ripping lips parts, my big chunks of white and dark meat parts,
slippery yellow skin up on my bones.
Too many demands and the biological revulsion grows.
Oh, the dissembling voices making me beg for the cure! How do you learn to speak when you have no words? They all fall out the bottom here.
Can you feel the tongue monster breathing heavy in your soft cartilage ears.




Naomi Bess Leimsider has published poems and short stories in Newtown Literary, Otis Nebula, Quarterly West, The Adirondack Review, Summerset Review, Blood Lotus Journal, Pindeldyboz, 13 Warriors, Slow Trains, Zone 3, Drunkenboat, and The Brooklyn Review.