NDJ:7 Deirdre Callanan

Burning Mouth Syndrome

While your husband became your wife,
as you read his texts
describing the process:
scalp shifted forward,
Adam’s apple shaved,
edges of his brow filed,
nose bobbed and lips plumped,
your face began to tingle,

and by the time Danny
returned from L.A. as Danielle,
your tongue had whitened and furred.

After the Fugawi,
Danielle posed in aqua linen
at the Club’s bar,
ready for anything,
though nothing overt happened –
this is, after all, Nantucket.

But what about you,
your tongue scalded and serrated,
on fire in some palpable way?
From the cabana’s shade,
you offered a vague smile,
your glance reserved
as you sucked ice from a tumbler.

What could we know of your sizzling mouth,
of the words it mutters in the volcanic night,
or what you must do
with that pallid, restless tongue?