Tongue

by Ben Vince

The closest comparison I can make
is to a tsunami:
somewhere offshore,
somewhere unknowable,
the ground rips apart for miles;
in come the waves, for miles;
on a stretch of beach, for miles,
the waterline draws back in on
itself, as if winded, and rears
its head forward to swamp the land-farers,
to turn their bones into sea currents…

But, of course, I am
exaggerating yet again; your
tongue is not so destructive,
does not hold promises of
body bags beneath its muscle;
it does not raise itself
fifty, sixty, seventy feet,
then come bellyflopping down to
Earth. The anticipation may
have felt phenomenal, but
now, paddling in your arms,
your tongue just feels
like a dead dog, like a fat
clump of seaweed, or a
stodgy scab, like the
leftover basin of a kitchen
sink, the bottom of a
flowerpot (smashed to
pieces), or a dried up
swimming pool – and
that’s it, isn’t it?
I wasn’t exaggerating,
just missing my own point:
your tongue is neither the
before of a disaster nor
the tsunami itself; you
are wetting me with
raw aftermath.