“The Things Our Mouths Know” poem by Jessica Vugteveen

The Things Our Mouths Know

poem by Jessica Vugteveen

Samson met Delilah at a party,
drunk on wine,
after he’d pulled down a temple full of Philistines.
He knew her name before he’d asked,
another talent from
the Lord,
and the name opened like a flower
on his tongue,
De…lie…lah,
the petals curling in his mouth,
the pricking of a thorn.

The story goes —
she asked him three times
his secret,
nagged him ‘til he spat it out like poison.
In truth,
she didn’t ask at all, just knew
as her fingers found his curls
that his power did not lie
in the taut flesh of
thigh or bicep, but
in the tendrils snaked across her pillow,
in his champion locks falling in
swatches to the floor.

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