“My Mouth (An Apology)” by Tom Holmes

Tom Holmes


after Musô Soseki

I left my mouth
hanging on the wall
With the front door
shut & locked
I walked away
I enjoyed listening
& people talked
without my replies
At the house
the mouth ate
its way down
commenting after
about wall paper
splinters & knots
about how to craft
a real hook
Chairs unable to run
crossed their legs
Lights dimmed
The mouth mumbled
to the oven
Use steady-state heat
The oven door flattened its lip
The phone trying to hide
squeezed the cradle
rearranged its numbers
hoped it wouldn’t ring
& prayed I didn’t forget
again to lock
the phone book in the safe
for the Judge declared
last time
another instance
he’d slap on a gag order
& lock me
in a chamber of ears
as if the mouth
& I are one

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007


Tom Holmes: “Damn. How many stupid things can I say in one life. This poem is a plea for forgiveness from everyone whom my mouth has confused / offended / bothered / distracted / embarrassed / humiliated / intimated / distanced, and a poem that I hope makes everyone laugh in understanding.”

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