Letter to My Children about the Mouth
for Drew & Vic
Laurie Ann Guerrero

“There is room for two tongues inside this kiss.”
-Carmen Tafolla

To My Son:
If she lets you, always
kiss the girl. But always
kiss her softly. The mouth
of a girl—no matter what
poison she has tasted, spit
forth—is the small womb
that breeds the whole world.
Do not think you deserve
her mouth more even
than she.

To My Daughter:
When he goes to kiss you,
if you have so allowed,
if you have not kissed him
first, remember it’s the rope
of your voice that holds
your bones together. Remember
each perfect note, each dissected
vein, each blossom of thought
is shared through that mouth.
And share, share—what better
gift? If he is aggressive, be gentle:
he may not understand, help him
understand the delicacy, the gift
of your many tongues.

Current Poet Laureate of the city of San Antonio and recently appointed Poet Laureate of the state of Texas for 2016, Laurie Ann Guerrero is the author of three poetry collections including A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying and A Crown for Gumecindo. She is the Writer-in-Residence & Literary Arts Director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio and Director of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop. She holds a BA in English from Smith College and an MFA in poetry from Drew University.

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