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palmfire3 : terri carrion


l a z y   t o n g u e

t e r r i   c a r r i o n

Suddenly, I’m in speech therapy, a mirror in my hand, a thin gringa hovering over my shoulder, asking me to repeat, sarsaparilla, seashells, somersault, while she points at her tongue to show where mine should be, because it’s lazy, refuses to rise to that spot behind my top front teeth to form the perfect S sound, snakes, sweat, stereo, she is recording me now, so I can hear when I accidentally get it right, remember how it feels, do it again, stupid, spic, soledad, the gringa is persistent, says I must practice everyday at home, my tongue needs exercise, skateboard, summer, Estevan, my tongue is heavy, collapses from exhaustion, takes up more space in my mouth than before, like I’ve bit off too much of a Cuban sandwich, saliva, sucia, stink, I think of my mother buying cow tongue at the meat market, that big slab in the frying pan, suspiro, somnambulist, system, the gringa says that’s enough for today, sends me back home, stucco, stained glass, San Lazaro—where my mother stands in the kitchen, slicing cebollas and singing those strange Galician songs with all the wrong kinds of S’s.



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