English Flavors

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Bosselaar. The Hour Between Dog & Wolf. English Flavors
I love to lick English the way I licked the hard round licorice sticks the Belgian nuns gave me for six good conduct points on Sundays after mass. Love it when 'plethora', 'indolence', 'damask', or my new word: 'lasciviousness,' stain my tongue, thicken my saliva, sweet as those sticks—black and slick with every lick it took to make daggers out of them: sticky spikes I brandished straight up to the ebony crucifix in the dorm, with the pride of a child more often punished than praised. 'Amuck,' 'awkward,' or 'knuckles,' have jawbreaker flavors; there's honey in 'hunter's moon,' hot pepper in 'hunk,' and 'mellifluous' has aromas of almonds and milk. Those tastes of recompense still bittersweet today as I roll, bend and shape English in my mouth, repeating its syllables like acts of contrition, then sticking out my new tongue— flavored and sharp—to the ambiguities of meaning.