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.


The above poem is a response to Amy Turn Sharp's call for 5-minute breakfast poems on Fridays during the month of April.

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