The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Speak, My Tongue by Carrie Meadows

for Gale

Mamma walks the hall, tinfoil in her mouth.
O don’t I know the taste of Papa-deadand-
gone. I fix what others break, I push
parts back in place. But this—
Now I know why
the pecan stays buckled in its coat, why
one in twenty turns black as rot. Mercy’s
roasting, and Mamma’s kicking the oven
to 400 degrees saying, Wait and see
what becomes of this egg, this sugar.
This loss—
Mamma’s pumpkin pie, a thumbprint
through its center. I fix what others break,
but Mamma’s pretending she can’t hear a thing
though her fork scrapes her plate. The sound is pain,
a kettle whistling its last breath of steam.

This selection comes from the collection Speak, My Tongue, available from Calypso Editions. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Krista Cox.

Carrie Meadows grew up around leather workers, doll makers, quilters, and tall-tale tellers who taught her the importance of straight stitches and good stories. She teaches creative and professional writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Krista Cox is a paralegal and poet living in northern Indiana. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Indianola Review, Whale Road Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among other places in print and online. She twice received the Lester M. Wolfson Student Award in Poetry, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. In her abundant spare time, Krista parents, paints, and plans community events as the Program Director of Lit Literary Collective. Learn more than you ever wanted to know about her at


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