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EPICUREAN by Vievee Francis

A hungry mouth, an empty mouth, insistent mouth,
mouth that would be filled by the seaweed of me,
that would crack the shell with a rock and take
its portion. The mouth gages its slide, gapes—
grotto mouth. Mouth where I might go to pray,
to fall upon my knees before. A mouth full of yes,

A hungry mouth, an empty mouth, insistent mouth,
mouth that would be filled by the seaweed of me,
that would crack the shell with a rock and take
its portion. The mouth gages its slide, gapes—
grotto mouth. Mouth where I might go to pray,
to fall upon my knees before. A mouth full of yes,
singer of heights and sorrows, Swannanoa of
a mouth. French Broad, Pigeon, a mouth so wet,
sweet as a North Carolina river. A mouth that keeps
its secrets like a mountain still. Moonshine mouth,
mouth of fiddles and laments. Yes, a mouth that knows
itself. Generous. No virgin’s pout, nor a greedy boy’s
insistence. Give me one that has been already schooled.
Not excess, but experience.
                                    Epicurus did not advocate for wine,
                                    but for salt of the skin,
and water to quench it. Paradox but not duplicity.
In my awe I would have this honest mouth, dive into the bliss
of it. Speechless mouth that makes its desires plain—
                                    Who wouldn’t want to
draw from this cup the well? Give me a mouth
I might place my own chapped lips to in the heat
of summer. A mouth to sate, to surrender.

 

 

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About Vievee Francis

Vievee Francis
Vievee Francis is the author of two books of poetry, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University, 2006) and Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University, 2012). Her work has appeared or is forth­coming in several periodicals and anthologies including Best Ameri­can Poetry 2010 and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She is the recipient of a 2009 Rona Jaffe Award and a 2010 Kresge Artist Fellowship. She is currently an associate editor for Callaloo.