Opposable Thumbs are Important by Angela Armitage

When she opened her mouth, only a tongue came out.
They had expected fire engines, or maggots, or little
frogs with hooked teeth. Only a tongue, sadly, and all

it did was wiggle around. The stars hung slugged,
acting neither cowardly nor special. The gaseous
things refused to even blink or shoot because stars don’t

really do that sort of thing. The dirt didn’t suction and
swallow pumas or skyscrapers. Everything stood as it
should be, indifferent to her perfectly human, though

delicious, kisses. This surprised them, and several hands
were thrown protectively above heads as though bombs
or boulders would drop. But none fell. One woman fainted

and the prostration wasn’t significant because she soon woke,
scraped and muttering ouches. This disturbed the fellows,
so they grabbed themselves reassuringly. Yes, still present.

Yes, still stiff. But then they remembered that it was only
their hands and her tongue, not some catastrophic Gwinevere.
The throng cried. It was quite romantic of them (her

tongue still milled about), but there were no rivers of tears
or hearts pierced with tiny daggers. After the kiss, they
said goodnight. Everyone returned to work in the morning.

IBPC First Place Winner 2001 and runner-up for Poem of the Decade.

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