Poetry: “Embouchure” by Mickie Kennedy

“My tongue / glistens I think it’s crying every tastebud / a tear duct every tooth a tuning fork”

With the flute as a catalyst, Mickie Kennedy joins music and anatomy in this textured and striking poem.


I successfully debone +++the flute with a paring knife
so I can pick+++ my teeth with its silvery spine
the flute-parts exposed+++ in the black case
like bones +++in a serial killer’s mossy basement
in remembrance of reed and metal plate +++my tongue
glistens +++I think it’s crying+++ every tastebud
a tear duct +++every tooth a tuning fork
self-conscious air+++ slowly fills my sinuses
I blow+++ as if cooling chowder+++ as if the mouth
within the mouth +++might actually let go

Mickie Kennedy

Mickie Kennedy (he/him) is a gay writer who resides in Baltimore County, Maryland with his family and a shy cat that lives under his son's bed. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Copper Nickel, and elsewhere. A finalist for the 2023 Pablo Neruda Prize, he earned an MFA from George Mason University. Follow him on Twitter/X @MickiePoet or his website mickiekennedy.com.

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