Leslie McGrath


At four, shivering
with fever, I bit through
the thermometer
slipped under my tongue.

My mother’s anguish
washed over me
as I was rolled
onto my side, a wet
cloth around her finger,
she dug frantically
through my mouth.
First memory of taste:
not the milky nipple, not
the spoonful of fruit,
but the icicle cool
of splintered glass
and the poison capillary
that runs through
every act of care.



"Taste" first appeared in Caduceus, fall, 2004.