Everybody used to say

that if you swallowed your chewing gum
, instead of spitting it out to stick to the pavement
or wrapping it in paper to put in a waste-bin,
it would stay there in your stomach
forever, undigested
exactly the same as the day it went down.
That wasn’t enough to stop a twelve year old me
nor an eight, nine, ten or thirteen year old me, either.
So has it been there all that time?
A benign tumor of pink, white and green:
vintage Hubba-Bubba – still in tact;
chewed up Airwaves, pale and minty;
Wrigley’s extra – the kind that used to come in strips;
they even included paper with that
with printed instructions on how to throw it away
responsibly.
I ignored all that though didn’t I.

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