The Poem’s a Tooth

by J. Neil C. Garcia

The poem’s a tooth

Rather, its ingrown grain.

Whichever it is that gets

To be the pulp-and-enamel

Shoot, and blooms.

For the tooth, like the poem,

Involutes and implodes:

Tickled to a pink by age,

Its mother is the gum

That slaves. Pierced by her children,

She outlives them in the end.

Shrunk to a bone and purple with grieving,

Only then is one truly wise:

We shed away what we cannot carry.

The process of growth turns turns in

Upon itself, finally, like life.

The baby grows

On its mother’s tit, and teethes.

W drink our mother in

Through the eyes.

But tit and teeth do give out both.

What lives after poetry of death – 

The gap-toothed child?


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