September 11th, 2006


. . .

in starless nights, as well as sunset shining,
i find hope and mystery enough
to fill a hundred pages with thousands of words,
and still have some leftover for tomorrow.

today, musing, under sunny skies and cotton ball clouds,
i cannot find the words to fill the gaps:
raw teeth ripped crimson out of mouths
without novicane, without recourse, and with much agony.

five years have done much to dull the pain;
while flaps of skin have overgrown screaming nerves,
the bleeding and tears have receded.
all the bills have been put on a payment plan.

the dentists, grown fat and rich on missing teeth,
show everyone photographs of what the ruin was.
how bright our smiles are today. what great work they have done!
i hope their cigars give them mouth cancer.

then cosmetic surgeons talk of new teeth,
shiny synthetic things, which will plug the gaps,
and find firm root where once oozed gummy holes.
i don't want new teeth, but that won't stop them.

i miss my old teeth, though they are no more.
mostly i miss all the smiles they were a part of,
and all the smiles that were part of them.

though many will strive to profit in filling the gaps,
for many reasons, honorable or not,
my manhattan smile will be gap-toothed evermore.

photo via gothamist
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