Jaime Speed

Stillbirth (2) - geographic tongue

I was born with a travelling tongue

turning mother’s face


as geese do

(this road that road)

the engine roars

starting mother’s fear

of birds

diving blackbirds

her lawnmower, her hair

(property edge)


empty nests

are just a mother’s broken heart

on an operating table

the doctor’s hand

unfolds the roadmap

of my tongue

calls it geographic

like I can’t say

where it’s been

mother gets me a Slurpee

my lips move the whole way home

I thought I’d know the way

the wanderer’s journey

is every tiny footstep

it’s not easy going

this tongue boasts

a lake’s fossil

at the ulcer scar dead centre

phantom pains

like babies kicking

at my womb

their gentle flags still waving

mother’s soft amen at night

is her whole mouth

retreating behind cluck clucks

of worry

this closed door

never had a compass

a key


mother’s heart

skips a beat

the hour dead ends

the hallelujah hovers

like winter

between us



wings poised

blessed with a geographic tongue





The phone booth down the hall is ringing ransom notes again

The dishwasher calls in its emergency landing to dispatch

Flickering chandeliers is not Morse code just the summer storm passing through

Drenching our plates, dinner


plans had to be called off

like the garden like the wedding like the wolves

The delayed departure of staircases

man down man down man down

The sonar trips, detecting


silences in ranges we can’t calculate

This great house kicks down its wheels

and welcomes a new runway

Jaime Speed earned an MA in English in the same place she lives, works, and plays: Saskatchewan, Canada. She enjoys reading, gardening, throwing weights, and dancing badly. Jaime has recently been published in The Rat’s Ass Review and Dear Loneliness Project, with work forthcoming in Psaltery & Lyre.

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