Soft Object

That which goes into the mouth and is eaten

is mortal, perishable, transformed


like knowledge, the way a subject takes within himself

something important, alien, that which is hard


made soft, deliquesces, and this thing becomes him,

doesn’t it, isn’t this what Dali wanted us to see,


to understand in the teaspoon, the prolongation

of its handle and the shallow bowl which contained


the little watch, or the ossification of a railway station,

the soft clock making its first appearance


in The Persistence of Memory, saying all gnosis is found

in phantoms, dreams, the fourth dimension…


I listen to the sax and trumpet made malleable

by Billy Holliday’s limbering voice, I take


the host in my mouth, crack its weight against my palate

and it bends, I remember how my breasts


were sex once, when the rigid milk ducts filled,

then the little pump’s blue horn, the rich liquid rising


inside the midget bottle, the yellow colostrum

like chrism, and I remember my son who tried to stuff


all my mother flesh inside him, in his small Pavarotti mouth;

how heroic it seemed when the string of milk left,


that sudden ribbon of white, opalescent, when he thirsted

like a night-blooming flower, his gullet becoming


sated, fed clear to the core, and distance bent backwards;

yes, the stuff of time vanished when I unbuttoned my blouse.

Leonore Wilson has published poetry in Quarterly West, Five Fingers Review, Third Coast, Madison Review, Pif and Nimble Spirit, amongst others. She lives and teaches in Northern California.