“I Open My Mouth” Poem by Rachel Kim

I Open My Mouth

Poem by Rachel Kim

I open my mouth to speak
and blossoms tumble off my tongue—
thin wet petals wrinkled, ripped,
stemless, so they wither
before they’re dried and hung
on someone’s wall.

I open my mouth to speak
and a cactus anchors itself in my throat
with needles full of morphine
so I don’t know it’s a cactus,
so I don’t know I am bleeding.
I eat a lozenge that tastes like
the chrysanthemums I dropped
in the Seine, and then
I go to sleep.

I open my mouth to speak
but bite on a grapevine instead
and the juices of its long-picked fruits
sting the cracks of my desert lips,
dissolving the amber in my stomach.
I turn into a magnolia tree
with crystalline flowers painted white.

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