Salad Days

Tick-tock, tick-tock, cuckoo, cuckoo—time chimes
with a burst of bird and tiny men charge out of doors,

their feet on tiny tracks and their hands clanging small, brass bells.
After they meet they nod, skate back into the clockhouse.

Are you at full tilt? Is your ready waiting?
Little dwellings: the clockhouse, birdhouse, outhouse, hothouse:

a rose and its painted face unfurl and wilt in the hot haze,
like death’s prom date. His super pushy mom behind the lens

doesn’t care his girl’s face has a sheeny glaze.
Thin pink seams of sweat slink from temple to jaw.

Youth has no style, no grace,
just scent, just taste. Just taste

the side of my face. I’ve got little sugar bloom left for you.
A pinch of salt in the finish of your lick, I am the ocean

after it’s tongued the shore, the rocks, the sand:
kiss like a fist: smack. Black. Back on your back.

White gulls ca-cawing overhead.

Jennifer Funk is California born and Yankee bred. Told by her mother she came out yowling, she has led an emphatically articulated life all the years since. She has received a BA from Bennington College, an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and was a recent recipient of a work-study scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. She would say, perhaps, that her poems are an exploration of the sinuous possibilities of the sentence and an endeavor to manifest the ineffable, sensorial wonder of living inside a human body.

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