READ THIS POEM OUTLOUD TO YOURSELF by Taylor Card

Read
this poem out loud to yourself
when it’s quiet and soft touches to your hair and heart
don’t soothe well enough.
Take a deep breath in and tongue your front teeth wet
so that they don’t catch your lips at the first purse of
read.
Gentle your hands where they fidget on your thighs
and breathe out long until the pressure on your lungs
catches like your ribs are caving in
and your stomach clenches and presses out
against the waistband of your jeans
and digs in.
Then taste the first word:
read;
savor it,
how your lips know to move out as if to kiss
and your tongue follows in a quick jerk
forward, then up as
the tap of your tongue
tickles the roof of your mouth
for the duh
in
read.
You don’t need to think about it,
but if you touch your fingers to your lips
in a barely there brush of flesh on flesh
and say:
read
this poem out loud to yourself
you will kiss your fingertips at least five times
and feel a little less lonely.

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