This one tastes yellow speckled with green.
This one tastes like an apology.
This one tastes awful but real, how I want Botox to taste
There are cattle grazing in the Astrodome.
When I was a boy my mother grew potatoes.
When I was a boy I played in the dirt.
I held my hands before me.
I examined the filth.
I licked the length of my palm from the wrist to the base of my index finger.
It was bitter, like earwax, like the skin of a cucumber.
I needed to know.
This one tastes like waking on an airplane.
This one tastes like the worst kind of porno.
This one tastes like touching the ring on the electric stove one pancake day because I needed a connection between color and temperature, helping my mother chop parsnips, letting the blade slide onto my thumb and for the shortest time watching blood rise before I knew pain.
This one tastes like amoxicillin.
This one tastes like bubble gum.
This one tastes like the truck stop on I-80.
I want to come to nothing before there is pain.
The same texture on your first chew but then with the second gone.
My father tried to teach me.
We sat in the beach hut on rainy days in August, listening to the cricket far away.
Under blankets with the windows closed and the beach deserted but our money down.
I miss the country I came from.
I was once a child.
When I asked my father what infinity meant he said the end of numbers.
When I asked the highest of all numbers he said no.
That numbers will keep on forever.
Which is what I knew of God.
Not to my knowledge a number but a new kind of man.
The highest we could find was a centillion.
So I learnt the names of those that fall between the million we knew and the centillion far beyond.
The quinquagintilliard, the novemnonagintillion.
And a billion in England is a thousand times more.
So the billionaires in England are a thousand times richer.
But all of the billionaires were once children.
Death will not feel like a dream.
This one tastes like my first job in the abattoir.
This one tastes like a scraped knee.
This one tastes like a die cast Ducati.
The billionaires are sniffing their fingers.
I want to visit the Astrodome before it is destroyed.
Unlike God or numbers, all of the billionaires will end.
They will end in hospital rooms.
They will end in private planes.
They will end in hotel Jacuzzis in Auckland or Japan.
There was a day when I first noticed the taste of blood.
There was another when I first noticed God.
This one tastes like the swimming baths on the Mumbles Road.
This one tastes the way excrement smells.
This one tastes like oranges and formaldehyde.
This one tastes like the convenience store in the basement of our first apartment building where we lived so high off the ground that the patio in the morning was surrounded by clouds.
We opened the windows to let the clouds in and whenever I stepped out of the elevator I felt as if the concrete beneath would swallow me.
Whenever I was underground I would think about the earthquake.
Whenever I was shaking in this way the world felt impossible and the concrete would rise and I would purchase my bread and Gatorade and we would listen to the cricket far away and talk about being billionaires and when the clouds lifted we closed the patio doors because death will not feel like a dream.
This one tastes like the coins we placed over your eyes.
This one tastes like a curtain call.
This one tastes like the end of numbers and death will not feel like a dream.
Richard Froude has written three books, FABRIC, The Passenger, and Tarnished Mirrors. New writing is included or forthcoming in Dreginald, Ottawater, The Sycamore Review and in the Modern Masters exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. He was recently awarded the 2013 Wabash Prize for Nonfiction.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan