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  • Writer's pictureBulb Culture Collective

Taffy Girl by Elizabeth Upshur

An acquired taste.

For the cannibals we say we aren't

we look at femme bodies. For

the taffies better known as flatteries

between liars and whoever isn't.


For that lump of gold, lump of fool’s gold

hard as knowledge passed from god to man,

just as sharp in the throat, scratching

out new words from my voicebox.


They were my first, those

caramel sweets from my grandmother,

a woman of the generation removed

from insistence on caramel, and one day,

hopefully, white

chocolate children.


the sticky sugar meant to lasso my loose tooth

out of my jawline from a, shall we say, inventive

dentist.


the color of my winter skin at my wrist,

like the Lord's own wrist yanked, bloody,

for a soldier's nail to pierce my palm,

hold my body up for crimes I have never

remembered, and the vinegar at my lips

harsher than my own tears.


Pull me until that hard, glossy armor

breaks. Until everything sweet

about me melts on your tongue,

and me and thee, and thee and me

seethe all in your blood.


Originally published by IOLiteraray Journal 2021



Elizabeth Upshur is a Black Southern poet and guest on Tsalaguwetiyi land. She serves as contributing editor at Seventh Wave, poetry co-editor at Okay Donkey Mag, and is the cofounder of The Southern Esesu Endeavor, a digital third space for writers.


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