after Joanna Hoffman
An alarm to Pavlov's dogs
the wretch to epicac
red to blood through oxygen
the arm to passenger seat in sudden stop
the football fanatic to beer
opening the fridge after arriving home from work
the cough induced by dust bunnies
is the bow release
from sensitive tongues everywhere
it's the bullet we hope will magic an end
If letters could be punctuation
would litter printer recycling bins everywhere.
If we said
at the end of every upturned word
at the end of every sentence of question
ears would tune it out as they do
It drools at the chin
activates salivary glands
and like forming new shapes
to learn French or Russian pronounciation
or to wave roll r's
A boyfriend once dared me
bid farewell to "I'm sorry"
for a weekend, a full week, a month.
At first, my hand slapping over my mouth became the reflex
and then a bridle at "I'm so---"
until at last
I felt a spearmint, a wintergreening
behind my chicklet teeth
not longer chewing at "I'm sorry's"
the cleanest my mouth
had ever felt
and one of the greatest favors done me
by a man.