Casualties

My cousin says she hates the way
half and half leaves a greasy coating on
the inside of her mouth, lacquering her palate
She reaches in a plum fingernail to
scrape it off
I drink my coffee with skim milk
The only thickness on my tongue is
guilt and
I have tried scraping
Brushing and peeling and steel wool but
I can’t get it off She says try dynamite
Close your mouth around the smooth cover
Don’t swallow any shrapnel, lean forward
and spit
Your teeth may chip
Bloody pulp will drip between your breasts but
you’ll feel so clean.

Isabel Mader is currently in the process of perfecting her miso soup recipe and becoming a sparrow. This is the first time she has been published since the fifth grade.