Holli Carrell


A woman’s mouth
hung in the dark,
silvery as old film

reel flesh; it wasn’t attached
to a face; it wasn’t attached
to anything:

numb planet,
firm as cold gelatin;

I watched it,
until it began to stir,
tentative at first,

tasting air, the lips
making space for the teeth.

It was horrible
the way the mouth kept making

shapes: an engine
tongue spackling the gums
with its own paint,

lips stretched wide apart
then taut together;

and then I realized
the mouth was speaking,

each shape a word drawn
like water from a well

at the back of the throat.
It sunk through me like a key
dropped in a pool:

my mouth—
and the lips grinned
as the mouth muscle panted

and thrust its sound out.

HOLLI CARRELL has poems in Blackbird, The Florida Review, Fugue, and Poet Lore. She is a recipient of Colie Hoffman Poetry Prize from Hunter College and lives in Queens.

Issue Six
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