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All Hollow Things Taste the Same

by Karoline Schaufler

 

Yes, it was wrong of me to lick the human heart they brought to elementary school to say: “Healthy.” “Not healthy.” Wrong, to lick a bee’s back in the hope of tasting honey. Wrong — in my defense — for them to come in the first place with such a thing so recognizably begging to thrum not preventively cast in some kind of resin.

Imagine a twelve-year-old feeling a phantom pulse through her tongue, while everyone else cuts lines, calls names, and breaths through increasingly constricting straws. Wrong, in a different way, to needle for nepenthe in the wrong kind of vain.

Imagine she looks up at a front-row someone, with her teeth almost touching an aorta apiece and her eyes almost wishing they each weighed seven pounds, knowing everything will be stickier the second time. Learning it all tastes like the umbra of a buzz.

The ironic intake of the public speaker who holds a thousand cilia every other day but has never glanced over to see a child forging for amygdala in extraordinarily — wrong — places.

A stranger obligated to ask me to stop. Someone formaldehyde has given up affecting. Peering at me with one-fifth of an eye, while the rest of him silently confesses having never thought to peel back one lamina more. Never looked at the morass of coronary pockets and imagined probing for nectar. Secretly wondering if it is, in fact, there.

For some twelve-year-old reason, I would not relent until someone brought me a magnolia instead. Fair trade of atria for anther. Compromise of amber stuck to the residue on my chin.

Once relinquished, all I could say was: “Healthy.” Once chastised, satiated, blooming pistil and synapse, all I could do was carry around my tongue in my mouth for the rest of the day. A lolling queen in the chambers of a thrumming hive that are not cavae.

 

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News

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

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Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now OPEN. The reading period for standard submissions closes June 15, 2021. Topical Thursdays’ submissions are open year-round. Submit here.

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