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The Taste of Sorrow

"Spout" Photo Cred: Stephen Biseño

"Spout" by Stephen Biseño

The Taste of Sorrow

by Jacqueline Knight Cotterill

My sorrow inhabits me.

I wear it as an invisible

layer of scarred skin,

in the silk scarves

I twirl round my fingers,

in the outsize fleece I

sometimes wrap tight

for the comfort of touch.

I see it in their talismans,

charms to fortune now settling

in a Mediterranean home;

the wooden sleeping Buddha,

the fairy hiding on the mantlepiece,

Chinese bells tinkling on red ribbon,

the framed photos my eyes see

and quickly flick away from.

I hear it in their voices

words left with me,

stories to remind me,

the voices in my head

reassuring as in life,

the voices I worry I’ll forget,

missed daily as the

goading phone stands silent.

I taste it in our shared treats.

Coffee and walnut cake,

pork pie and mustard,

crumpets dripping with

finger licking butter,

dried apricots and raisins,

the jar of mini chocolates

we all dipped our hand in.

It blurs my eyes as I fight

to forget the replaying film,

the minutiae still paining,

the visit of death.

It stings my lips as

I lick away salt concentrate,

tears furrowed down my face.

The taste of sorrow.


Jacqueline Knight Cotterill has lived in Spain for 28 years. She is a writer and campaigner for the environment and voting rights and has been Deputy Mayor of her small village for 11 years. Her poetry is inspired by nature, life’s joys and sorrows and the never ending fight for justice and equality for all.

Stephen Briseño is a poet and middle school English teacher. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mentor Mixtapes, 8Poems, formercactus, Riddled with Arrows, and Right Hand Pointing. He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and daughter, where you can usually find them lounging at a coffee shop. Follow him on Twitter: @stephen_briseno

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