d a u g h t e r t o n g u e | a poem standing tall

pale blonde girl, stand still

pale blonde girl, swallow, girl, swallow, girl

take me in

hold me close

child, hold me, take me

absorb every part of me, I say

father of mine, father of mine

tongue around her features

saliva on my daughter, saliva on my face

eat me up, my father has an appetite

I put my tongue in my daughter’s face

carving father, holy father

takes it out, takes it out on her

women take it

daughters take it

learn it

wine down their throats


I learn my father’s language


salt mine

father’s tongue

father tongue

I learn it quickly

I learn it without words

without womenspines

without resistance

take me in


kills my mother, kills her in her sleep

tongues don’t speak

tongues carve and mould


wet and blue, father, blue and wet

mildewfaces, mildewtaste,

burying me alive with your mouth

I give myself birth again and again

hold me, child

I need to survive

I take what’s mine

I take what I created

I open my mouth wide

and nobody will hear you speak

you don’t know the words

you won’t understand

they won’t see, they won’t intervene

they grew up in it

they swallowed deeply


part of their flesh

we embody the language of the dead

the mildewdead

perform, daughter, perform

I make myself a part of you

I collect you

contract you

all parts of you

taste me

and they won’t hold

they can’t stand

they can’t listen

truth doesn’t exist

they imagine a whole new world

they all drowned in the underground

dead weight, dead women floating facedown on the surface

mosswomen, stonechildren

he is dead when he speaks about what happened

I bury you, devour you in the swampcracks in-between the lines

you’d never think that I’d use my tongue as well

my d a u g h t e r t o n g u e


My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2021 | Instagram: @melpomenepaintings

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