Black licorice stains

Black licorice stains

Sandpaper like rubbed on tongue

taste tattoo, father time’s

arthritic painting pain

color of the words my lips form.


Dry parchment cheeks erase

sugar smile dimples

without practice.


Sticky thick caramel coating

hard to swallow, gag reflex

out smoother than in.


Bitter white inhale reminder

tannin thick mucus palette cleanse

smile-pulled; what no home cooked

pan fried artificial sweetener ever did.

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