Laura McCullough: Begin With a Bifid Tongue

Have you ever had turducken? That’s turkey stuffed
with pork stuffed with chicken, a kind of gourmet diglossia,

or if you prefer, a glossolalia of protein. All boneless,
of course, which is best for the actual eating. Let’s make

some, and while we eat it, let’s share whatever words
we know in Tamil, Tagalog, Urdu. Let’s draw pictographs

on our napkins in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, I don’t care.
Can you stuff some spoken word in this poem or, better yet,

a double sonnet into a villanelle into a ghazal, no gravy,
to be sure, but what spills over, we can lick with our twin

tongues, salt and sweet dazzling our bifurcated muscles
into strips, no longer bifid but feathered, so we become

glossolalists, ecstatic, knowing only each other’s language,
but unable to translate what we say, a kind of glossalgia

which means pain in the tongue, not unlike what happens
when you try to eat something right out of the oven, how

you can be that hungry, that desperate and that foolish.



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