Second Mouth1 min read


John Philip Johnson and Salvatore B. Lombard
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When you talk, another mouth opens,
lower, half–way down your throat,
with a long tongue and ugly clumps
of prehensile, yellow teeth.
It licks its lips, savors what’s to come.
A cutting comment or two, at first,
then belching out jeers and mockery,
a gushing stream of vulgar jabber.
Don’t you hear it? I can’t hear anything else.
What are you saying, anyway? Weather?
Lunch? Something about your parents?
It shuts up, and your lips keep moving,
but I still can’t make out your words.
See? it says, See? But I don’t want
to see it that way, even as it lures
your hand, as though to scratch your throat,
into its teeth, to gnaw on some
of your softest, most oblivious bones.


  • John Philip Johnson

    John Philip Johnson has just come out with a collection of graphic poetry, Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town, illustrated by Marvel Comics artist Bob Hall and others. He has work recently published or forthcoming from Rattle, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Daily Science Fiction, and Ted Kooser’s newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry.” He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife and three or four of their five children. He can be reached via his website

  • Salvatore B. Lombard

    Salvatore B. Lombard is a classics student attending the University of Lincoln, Nebraska, with interests ranging from science fiction to equine clicker training, whose work has appeared in local publications and in two volumes of Tales from the Perseus Arm.

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