My Tongue Immobile

My Tongue Immobile
by Rachel Forbes
I am conscious of my tongue, the way it moves and takes up residence inside the walls of my cheeks and lips. Where does it go when I swallow? The tip pressed gingerly to the back of my bottom teeth, then rolled up to the roof of my mouth like an ensnared slug. I reel off the entire alphabet while I lie in our bed- I try to keep my tongue immobile the whole time, A, B, C, D, E… the point curled under, pressed hard into the fleshy bed that makes up the trampoline floor of its home, crafting a new sound. I develop consciousness of temperature (colder on top) and taste (salty around the edges). I try lip-syncing so I can hear its undiscovered solo; the slight clicks and pops of the tiny vacuum it creates when it pulls away for my silent T. Sometimes I slip up, let the tongue flick or shift in its natural way and I have to start over, concentrate harder, force it to be still. After I successfully complete the alphabet I move on to familiar song lyrics, committed movie lines, dredged up bible verses. Some sentences create a swing dance in my mouth, others are a little nap. When I become aware that I am trying to forget you I press my face into your pillow and experience my tongue telling you I miss you. Then I move on to multiplication tables.

Leave a Reply