Bawl-Mouth / Tongue-Fault / Disease

That we might heal like this

Hound blood mapping the throat’s throat the throat bawl-mouthing

the dark That we listen to the fiddle crop-dusting

the man the porch the pot of beans boiling the family of eight

hungry and then some Always what is left

is what is left is only what the dogs get the redbones the blueticks

understand the back back parts of the heart

A piece of glass


A shard of white after-death

The woman moans the butterflies

of Bolivia release resin from their migration their Montana

cave Moon washing up dead fish

all the way in the Wabash How could the only twenty-three whooping cranes

left in 1954 have survived

my life? Somehow we simple-down we yes and no we word-skip

the blood we chop-mouth and inexact Out of the smoking rain

the cigar-dead get into my brain There is beautiful blood

in my quite beautiful mouth All I have killed

I have dressed with skill with a pack of hounds acting

as one sound If we could collective, say, the mouth

If we could mouthful and mine-step and release

The back back parts of what I know


I know Maybe now I might finally get it

right That it may go like this that sleep itself


might doze off that the dogs might finally throw us

a bone come in from the hunt scratch forth a bed curl into themselves


That I might sniff out the resin in my tail rest my head upon

what’s behind me pass the time without Indiana or moon-shred

or the tongue-faults of the past the tongue-toughened indiscretions of disease  

Note: This poem first appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Spring 2016, No. 29: 20-21.

George Kalamaras, former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014-2016), is the author of eighteen books of poetry, eleven of which are full-length, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck (2011), winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). His scholarly book, Reclaiming the Tacit Dimension: Symbolic Form in the Rhetoric of Silence, appeared from SUNY Press in 1994. He is Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990. He completed his doctoral work at SUNY-Albany in 1990.

Barzakh Mag