Late, I would lay on the bed in my room striped
with pink and green wallpaper, dotted
with pink and green flowers, adorned
with pictures of kittens with pink ribbons
and sexless teen idols, stuffing my mouth
with crisp, crumbling crackers, my mouth more
dry with each square saltine I shove—
one after another after another after another—
into my mouth, catching the corners, burning
my tongue with salt, stretched with starchy,
floury debris clumping in wads behind my teeth,
in my cheeks, until I couldn’t swallow, forced
to gulp milk to free the cloying glue that sealed
my mouth

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