the Minotaur’s tongue is in my mouth

Elizabeth Upshur


the pink-brown cut of flesh seared

with black and red pepper, garish

outside his own mouth. i haven’t

eaten meat in so long, have never

swallowed a tongue like a lion

and imagined the rest of the body—

                i thought i was an omnivore,

but here is the carnivore, the cannibal, the

howl between my workaday smile

and this                                unremarkable pleasure.


but i cannot stop the tongue from tasting

like a kiss, cannot stop conjuring

two round eyes, darkest brown—

i cannot with the twinness of it,

i have become a monster consuming myself,


i want to chuck it from my palate onto the plate

but this is a restaurant, everyone is tinkling forks

and glasses of water with lemon, you

chew, you swallow, you do not make a scene

you stay in your little lie that everything is fine,

the little rut of some kind of life that may end

with your tongue in someone’s teeth.

On the off chance it does not, i manage to swallow.




Elizabeth Upshur is a Black Southern writer and Associate Poetry Editor for Okay Donkey Mag. She earned her MFA from Western Kentucky University and recently won the inaugural Brown Sugar Lit Magazine prize and her writing can be found in Colorism Healing Anthology, Pomona Valley Review, and Red Mud Review.