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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