Salted Are The Lips of the Saints

pause to quick hope—
stuff it under a pillow
to do as moth and mold

tend to.

there is vanity
in every kiss, 
skulking behind

each perfect blade of grass.

there is only truth 
in salt. it is of the earth,
it was mined severe and hostile.

in every kiss
there is longing.

every statue is built 
of pleasant “what ifs.” 

if there is gold, it will 
be found in sweet blood,
in bone gummed raw

by incessive protrusions.

it will take me a year to find 
myself as i was last year

and even then, there is a little
lost to the casual attire
of maintaining humanity.

i was born of many teeth,
my mother said i chewed 
through her youth with a savage

sense of desperation—
with a terror of life, with
a fright of the molars which meant

to grow up and down my spine, 
painful as the fresh lover’s lips,

truthful as a glance
over a salting shoulder.


e.a. toles is an Austin based poet. His poetry is currently obsessed with wrestling an understanding of life through exploration of personal trauma, spirituality, and human interaction. His work can be found in Figroot Press, BlazeVox, and Vallum Magazine.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:2, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE! Visit our website for details.