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English Flavors

Written by: Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Biography
  I love to lick English the way I licked the hard 
round licorice sticks the Belgian nuns gave me for six
good conduct points on Sundays after mass. 

 Love it when ‘plethora’, ‘indolence’, ‘damask’, 
or my new word: ‘lasciviousness,’ stain my tongue, 
thicken my saliva, sweet as those sticks — black

 and slick with every lick it took to make daggers
out of them: sticky spikes I brandished straight up
to the ebony crucifix in the dorm, with the pride 

 of a child more often punished than praised. 
‘Amuck,’ ‘awkward,’ or ‘knuckles,’ have jaw-
breaker flavors; there’s honey in ‘hunter’s moon,’

 hot pepper in ‘hunk,’ and ‘mellifluous’ has aromas 
of almonds and milk . Those tastes of recompense 
still bitter-sweet today as I roll, bend and shape 

 English in my mouth, repeating its syllables 
like acts of contrition, then sticking out my new tongue —
flavored and sharp — to the ambiguities of meaning.