As she's up there reciting the kind of watery verse
that slips like broth between the tines of the fork
before it can reach your eager lips, my ravenous mind
wanders and eventually arrives
at that alley in Seattle with the wall completely covered
with wads of used chewing gum stuck there over the years
and hardened to a brightly splotched lacquer
several inches thick and reaching up fifteen feet.
I want to express the awe and ick I feel
each time I stand before it, tempted to touch
but prevented by disgust, even though the gum
is no longer soft or sticky, any germs or saliva long ago
scrubbed off by the rain, burnt away by the sun,
thousands of toothy indentations
being the only evidence they were ever inside a mouth.