The Fieldstone Review

Gum Wall


Seattle

The sound of applause trickles down from the market
signaling another fish has unnaturally sailed into waiting hands.
Instead of piss, a ritual saturates the alley below,
a polyphonic chorus of mashing jaws.
A peculiar fusion of fruit and mint
scatters helplessly in the air.

Previously a wall of deep scarlet brick and mortar,
now a fifty-foot stretch of rainbow spectacle,
constructed one pressed thumb at a time
by post-masticated rubber.

Tourists congregate in droves
to pull globs from their mouths,
and stick a warm addition
to scarce vacant spots
on the discoloured bricks.

To unfocused eyes the alley becomes
a canvas for a modern world map,
each piece a hardened pin, a statement of existence,
connecting continents over an ocean of saliva,
forever bonding lives in impressions of thumbs.