No False Positives Here

“With what’s coursing through your veins,
one second will feel like a hundred years.”
Mayuri Kurotsuchi, Bleach

a woman on the ground
in front of me scrambles to pick
up all six pieces of her tongue

each wriggling, slimy piece
echoes the word no infinitely
filling the silence, tasting her

fingers as she tries desperately
to persuade them to say yes
but even I know that they know better

she smiles, apologetically at first
then gets annoyed that I won’t even help
her—but I haven’t yet begun to breathe again

my ribs would snap like the weak, brittle
needle that just sucked my blood twenty minutes ago

finally, the bubblegum-pink pieces hop back into
her mouth, two at a time, (two, then two
then two) as if they too sensed some torrential flood

it was funny, though
when she finally lisped it, softly
like a lullaby

it’s written backwards in Spanish, as if my
ecstatic doppelganger had copied it from
our reflection in a cracked mirror

“so, will I ever be loved?” I repeat
“no.” the six pieces of her tongue reply
all together in the aching silence

the woman blushes, because
even she knows she could have never
convinced them to say yes