BLACKBERRIES (DAD’S LODGER AND HER TONGUE PIERCING)

There was a woman that I knew
Who belonged illegally
To a house with naked floors
And spiked doorways.

We gave her blackberries,
Our proud hands stained with their blood
And standing barefoot in the kitchen, hair and eyes flickering
She’d place one in her raspberry lips
Smile, swallow, speak
“This kind of sweetness sticks.”
Mouth open, tongue displayed
Our own blackberry mouths made a gasp

This woman that I knew
To her tongue belonged permanently
A blackberry limb,
Pierced right through tongue-skin.

It hurt more than bramble-thorns, more than spiked doors
That’s what I thought, child-eyes wide
I thought it’d gone
That taste
For so long
But its blood is at my lips
Sweet, piercing, sweet
Happiness

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