When you say watch your mouth

Ami Patel

You need to know this: my mouth was forged
in another dimension. There, my mouth is heirloom
and harmonica, abundant with sea minerals and leaping
baby goats. But here, my mouth is pestilence. Root rot
and stillbirth. Here you insist my diagonal tooth,
the one that sprung early like an overeager ballerina,
makes me auspicious. My gums throb in the heat
of that lie. Do not offer a full plate of marigolds
while tunneling me in silence. Here, my mouth is decreed
renegade, as filmy as a Katrina duckling. Declared a target,
use caution and all weapons forged in the sneers of men.
Here, the corners of my mouth stay pinched together
like my legs. But in the bower of midnight, when you sleep,
my mouth screams in decibels heard only by those
with hips and ribs from other terrains, their demands
shredding the air like glitter: turn it up turn it up
Yes girl turn it up

Ami Patel is a queer, diasporic South Asian poet and Young Adult Fiction writer. Ami’s poetry is published in perhappened, Red Rock Review, and They Rise Like a Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets, among others. Find her at amipatelwrites.com or @amiagogo on Instagram and Twitter.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Six.

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