Skip to Content

The Tooth

Now I could tell you how my father
Strangled my mom, popped her loving eyes
And fried for it in Sing Sing. How I
Was sent to Aunt Dot, a plump Zero
In Kansas, who addressed my behavior
Trilling: We’re not in Catgut anymore!
None of this is true, and might
As well be. Dad left. We went inland
Nearer Mom’s parents. Like a tooth
That breaks in extraction, the white crown
In the pinchers, the rest an ache
Embedded all through Catgut, I became
A severed head.

        I thought how I
Would live in Shaughnessy’s cave, how Annie
Would bring me food in a basket, smuggle me
Home to shower when no one was there,
Give me her outgrown dresses for school
(Though I hated all her dresses), all the time knowing,
That’s dumb. That’s dumb. It wouldn’t work.

We are owned till we make it work.
They pack and take us, and we go.

©2003, pomme press