Second Mouth

By Franny Choi Franny Choi
Other-lips     whispering     between my legs.
What they called black hole     not-thing
is really packed full of secrets.     A rebel mouth

testifying from the underside.     Careful
not to let it     speak too loudly.     Only hum
demure     in polite company — never laugh

or spit on the sidewalk     or complain
lest we both be dragged     under the wheels of
one of those.     Or worse     coddled

smiled at     as at a lapdog acting wolf.
Or worse     called ugly     a cruel joke. Or — 
there are always     worse things.

Too many messengers     shot.     But then
who wouldn’t fear     an eyeless face
whose ghost stories     always     come true?

Source: Poetry (March 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2014
 Franny  Choi


Franny Choi is a Korean American writer, performer, and teaching artist. She is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (2014). A VONA/Voices Fellow, she is a recipient of Poetry magazine's Frederick Bock Prize, a finalist for the 2014 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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