My mouth can’t have

what it wants when it wants it,

an afternoon that yields

the taste of its longing,

a suck for its suck,

the right word clearly spoken.

At night its tongue

probes the hammered walls

with a soft claw

for the missing ingredient.

Far down the gorge

the mad handler

both it beats it forward

and reins it back.

It thrashes and digs

for a surface

that, when it comes,

leaves it lapping at air

and forms like glass

over the swallowed demand:

“Give it to me;

Give it to me now.”

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