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.