the mouth

My shared workspace has gone maskless for the vaccinated and all of the sudden everyones mouths are out and they feel private and aggressive and wrong and strange. I go to the bathroom and turn the corner and IT’S A MOUTH, and it suddenly feels like our mouths are in each others’ mouths. It reminds me of a monologue I wrote for the Homebound Project mid-pandemic, about a woman feeling anxious about showing her mouth again. It’s meant to be performed completely with a hand over the face, and over zoom obviously, panny art style. Here’s a slice. A…taste?

My Mouth

I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten how to use my mouth in a regular way. Like I’ve forgotten what it’s for. And I’m worried it’s forgotten its manners. Like where does the tongue go, exactly? Behind the teeth, or like –? And when do you keep the mouth open and when do you keep it shut? And what if a bug crawls into it, do you scream?   And what will be the first thing I say?

The eyes are the window to the soul. And the nose is — the butt — of the face. The ears are just – the ears.

And the mouth is –

And so the mouth is –

            She drops her hand. Slowly, like she’s dropping her slip. We see her mouth. We see everything. It’s a beautiful mouth and self-consciously, it smiles.

The mouth is the heart. It’s an open, beating heart that can’t be alone. See? It’s terrible, isn’t it?

            But it’s not. It’s really quite beautiful.

            Still, her smile fades.

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