What do I know of my own tongue and the taste of love? For one thing, I savor the bitterness of envelope glue. This is love; and the metal of minor open wounds in the absence of band-aids or tissues, and the rim of a water glass that has sat reverently on a nightstand for too long. All the food I eat on a day when I don’t feel like eating, and toothpaste…look at me, taking care of myself.
What does my tongue know of me, and the soft skin of my inner cheeks? The spots where anxiety has compelled me to bite. Blisters. Blisters are kind of like love. Too much friction, and evidence to show for it. How many flavors of Chapstick? Where sweetnesses and disappointments traverse the landscape. An ecosystem within an ecosystem. Mother tongue. My mother, tongue.
A muscle strong from carrying all the messages that never made it out of me. Laced with secrets, and receptors of breaths both known and foreign. A transformer, look! Slack, and pointy, and soft, flat, and rigid. Hot dog! Clover! Funny faces are love.
My tongue is well versed in survival tactics; like, how to breathe through smoke, and how to hold, and hold, and hold tension. Braving cold summer snow cones and steamy winter teas. It maintains equilibrium when the rest of the body cannot.
What does my tongue know of travel? Having trekked roofs, and hollows, and caverns. Cavities, too. A paleontologist in its own right, and a philologist, and a virologist, and a cytologist. Knowing of more -ologies than a brain might ever be. Teaching me, and teaching me, and teaching me. This is love.
For a prisoner of the mouth, my tongue manages to sustain a taste for life. For love – and the bitterness of envelope glue, and the metal of minor open wounds in the absence of band-aids or tissues, and the rim of a water glass that has sat reverently on a nightstand for too long. All the food I eat on a day when I don’t feel like eating, and toothpaste. Look at me, tasting it all.
Aliza Saper is an original Denverite, and a wearer of many creative hats. She is the winner of the 29th Paul Rice Poetry Broadside Series Contest, and a 2018 National Poetry Slam qualifier. Currently, she is a resident teaching artist specializing in theatre arts integration; fiercely advocating for arts education, and spaces that support it. Her affinity for self expression, and meaning-making has led her to pursue endeavors in storytelling via the visual, literary, and performing arts. Follow her on Instagram: @aliza_lynn.