Your Teeth, My Teeth

clatter. chew
through apples (nothing).

half a meal, half a pine,
half of what we hoped for,
if.

the way a core reveals itself inedible,
though we knew.

from day one, bites
and bites.

sometimes the juice sweetness
overpowers slow rot.

it was early on, and worms
had yet to emerge from their holes
in the ground to greet us.

all we had to do
was wait for rain.

 

(originally published in First Literary Review – East, Winter 2018)

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Brushing

As I run hot faucet water
over the head of my electric toothbrush,
Jennifer asks isn’t it better
when we brush our teeth together?

This, of course, is redundant.

I have cleaned the spit
and foam from my brush alone
through the years,
watched clean water slowly spiral
down a clog.

I have taken better care
of myself.

Flossed the plaque
between memories,
tartar of bad habits,
freshened breath
in and out of you.

These I can withstand.

Thus I answer at all.

Tiger Balm

Nice to pretend
there’s a thing all-healing.
It’s early spring and we both
ache– my mouth, your stomach.
Searching for remedy we lay
leglocked in bed to distract
ourselves with affection
but smell of Tiger Balm.
You like its touch, I like
the texture– the initial
dipping into hope that
maybe we’ll find relief
in the burn it leaves
in the air, or in my hand
on your stomach,
then in your hand.

 

(Originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2017)