Tongues by Donna Hilbert


I gouged my tongue
on the cruel edge of a carrot.
Yes, it bled.

I did not swallow the fly
that drowned in my coffee,
though it rested on my tongue
until I realized it was not a crumb,
but a creature, dead.

My nose did not break
when I dropped my phone
onto its bridge while reading
news from the war zone
in my safe, but troubled, bed.

Who could find sleep
while naming the dead?


Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, ONE ART, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at

One thought on “Tongues by Donna Hilbert

Leave a Reply