Consumption

penny

I used to put things in my mouth,

things I wanted to hold for longer than I would be near them,

like rocks, bits of dirt, a bit of plastic from a stir stick.

When I was twelve, I took to swallowing them.

I ate a stone at a lakeside cottage,

a ten-cent coin found by a friend,

that small chunk of wood that fell off our bookshelf.

They are all still in me somewhere,

caught in my intestinal tract, snugged up against my duodenum,

or left as a memory of energy in the history of my cells.

Her lipgloss is still in my throat.

That wool thread from your sweater still sticks to the roof of my mouth.

I ate a penny last week.

I've told no one.

It was nearly black on one side,

but it bore the year of your birth, and I liked to think

that you once held it between your thumb and forefinger

like I did,

before I tossed it back.

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The above poem is a response to

Amy Turn Sharp's call for 5-minute breakfast poems on Fridays during the month of April

.