You swallow chewing gum, the mother says,
Your blood and bones will bunch together
The kidneys lock in what it should let out,
The stomach sticks to the pancreas. You’ll clog
Your joints so tight you can’t make a move
Especially on the court when you want to fake
Left go left, have to stand where you are
Till you aren’t. What the father says:
You swallow a watermelon seed, that’s it,
Like an unmilked udder, like your brother’s balloon,
Bigger and bigger until you’re about to burst
And you will. You’re a cat, you swallow grass,
You’ve seen what happened to our calico. Like that.
You swallow someone’s line, you’re a flopped fish,
You’re a bird with a tooth ache instead of a fish,
you’re hooked, done for. You’d be better off to bite
Your own tongue before you do that, eat your good shirt,
Swallow your words before you do that.
Let me ask you this: you ever see a swallow fly
Above a field of young chewing gum?
He keeps going, right? Would not stop for a Wrigley’s
Even if you gave it to him free for nothing. Smart,
That bird, eating his flies on the fly,
Making his way from here to there, parting the air.
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