English Flavors by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
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 â€˜plethoraâ€™, â€˜indolenceâ€™, â€˜damaskâ€™,
or my new word: â€˜lasciviousness,â€™ stain my tongue,
thicken my saliva, sweet as those sticks â€” 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.
â€˜Amuck,â€™ â€˜awkward,â€™ or â€˜knuckles,â€™ have jaw-
breaker flavors; thereâ€™s honey in â€˜hunterâ€™s moon,â€™
hot pepper in â€˜hunk,â€™ and â€˜mellifluousâ€™ 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 â€”
flavored and sharp â€” to the ambiguities of meaning.