Laura McCullough

Pig’s Tail Tongue

We waited to see what would happen
next, but there was no kiss, just an unkiss;
we remained bifurcated, speaking only
with tongues not in them, your words
across the space between us understandable,
the opposite of Mandarin and Cantonese.
If you wrote me a letter, I couldn’t read it,
but speak to me, and it’s all quite clear.
Sometimes a poem is like that: clear in
the air, full of knots on the page, or
the reverse, pictographs anyone can
apprehend, but otherwise filled with
obstructions. The man who invented
Esperanto was an ophthalmologist,
meaning he studied the science of eyes,
and he saw the barrier which wasn’t
about sound but apprehension. Roll
your pig’s tail tongue around my little
finger, word-slop our fodder, thrash
with me in the gutter of utterance.
You can tell a pig from the friends
he grunts with. Toss some pigs before
pearls, some cats to gold coins, let
the cows hear our music. Tell me
you see my eyes in Pig Latin, tell me
you love me in two ways or in some
unpronounceable way, unkiss me
so hard, I am kissed anyway.

Laura McCullough
Pig Tail’s Tongue first appeared in New South.