Parentals
Martin Galvin

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. Youíll clog

Your joints so tight you canít make a move
Especially on the court when you want to fake
Left go left, have to stand where you are
Till you arenít. What the father says:

You swallow a watermelon seed, thatís it,
Like an unmilked udder, like your brotherís balloon,
Bigger and bigger until youíre about to burst
And you will. Youíre a cat, you swallow grass,

Youíve seen what happened to our calico. Like that.
You swallow someoneís line, youíre a flopped fish,
Youíre a bird with a tooth ache instead of a fish,
youíre hooked, done for. Youíd 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 Wrigleyís
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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