Candyspine: An Education
Zack Wentz

Mouth is a damp catalogue of wanting white. Except the tarnished yellow (wanting yellow). The rotted-out (wanting brown-black). You cannot taste your own teeth, but these teeth you can, and there are moans. The tongue, this tongue, is just a fucking headband.

Have . . . you . . . ever . . . eaten . . . an . . . ulcer?

Be still.

Now, we believe the cock is an antenna, the true-tailbone, a misplaced part-of-spine. We believe the puckered hole there once housed a tiny eye.

Can you taste the blindness?

Good. Our kings used to kill themselves with a bit of poison kept in a crocodile egg, if their strength or beauty waned. They could be trusted to eat this poison. The recipe was secret, and lost. Our kings now are gray-haired sacks of blubber and money. They eat boys.

Now, can you put your fine mouth all the way around each of the bars? Slide? Every trapped hand that gripped them ever left flavor. The only History of Captives. Taste.


Nothing is wasted. Leftover spine is rolled in fat, then crumbed bread and sugar, fried. Princes get to gnaw at these before they are old enough for shaving or the Rites. Before the older teeth form. Itís that sugar makes their shit stink so. What do you think we have to eat here? Dumplings?

Now, let us sample you. Fold across the Cell Stone, and there, another blind eye. Stubborn mouth, and know this way Iíve more fingers than you.


Count inside.

Wrist-snug as one of your watches, and you are so empty! You may cry.

This humble glob. Almost without scent. Flavor? Taste. All of it. Would a Prince be proud?

What you came for, yes? To taste. Burned questing through alleys and low shops. Did you expect so soon such luck? For you such a boy? Lie down.

Your arms are angel wings.


Now, does a chest make such a fine pillow once it had been removed? Cooled? The thin hood of one of your small cars. How sticky it lifts off.


Why, with where you are from, what you had, did you pay so much to be here? Do you love me?


The shape of love is a shadow, the slowest black bird coming over you through dark, hanging in place, ripping down.


Now, your sorry stomach will not again bother you.

Lip this necklace of teeth. Taste.

Bear tickle of tongue licking your heart.

Now, here, together, inside, we play kings with our own kind.

And of us you are one.

Zack Wentzís work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in New York Tyrant, Weird Tales, Black Clock, NANO Fiction, 3:AM, Fiction International, Word Riot, theNewerYork, and elsewhere. He runs New Dead Families.